With my groceries stowed in the trunk of my car and the cart returned, I climbed into the driver's seat, bum first, scrunched up and sliding in to avoid the brunt of the enthusiastic greeting I knew was coming from my dog. A black haired, German Shepherd crossed, with of all things, an English Springer Spaniel, most people think she's a Lab.
It's the same routine every time I get in the car with her. I could be gone 5 minutes to check our post office box and she always behaves as though I've been gone for days. With her back feet planted on the rear seat for balance and her front feet resting on the centre console, she lets me know how happy she is to see me by wiping her wet nose on my cheek and licking my ear, simultaneously. All the while, her rear end is swinging in wide arcs with each wag of her tail. It's an assault on my personal space and it's hard not to laugh.
Once I'd settled in my seat, I reached up with my right hand to press her face against mine, enjoying the silkiness of her fur beneath my fingers, and turned my head to the left to avoid having my glasses knocked off my face and smeared with nose goo. My gaze fell naturally on a pretty young woman two stalls over and one up from mine, also seated in her car and facing me. Her manicured left hand dangled out her open window, dropping ripped paper on the ground. As I watched the white confetti tumble and scatter in the wind, our eyes locked and I wondered if she realized how ugly she appeared to me in that moment.
I felt myself go still inside while I continued to stroke my dog's fur, her big head next to mine and her breath coming in hot puffs on my cheek. It felt uncomfortable to simply sit and stare, rude even, yet I couldn't seem to stop. I wanted her to feel uncomfortable, too. I wanted her to know that I'd seen what she'd done and that it wasn't okay.
I know that, on the scale of human suffering, littering ranks pretty low, but it's a 'thing' with me. Always has been.
She laughed a small laugh, and lowering her eyes, she rolled up her window. Addressing her friend in the passenger's seat, I could make out the words on her lips, "That woman's watching me."
I turned away with a sigh and did my best to just shake it off, but like dog shit scrapped off the bottom of my shoe, the stink still lingered.
I've enrolled in a writing e-course offered by Laurie Wagner called Telling True Stories. Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing the product of my work here that results from the writing prompts she gives us.