I was very unhappy before this picture was taken. I had gone away to school, but had returned home due to illness. I was lonelier than I had ever been, because I had no job, my friends were away at school, and my parents worked full-time. I spent the majority of my days alone in an empty house, or at doctor’s offices.
Then came Brie, a small, skinny (emaciated, really) blonde dog with big brown eyes, white socks, freckles, and a heart-shaped blaze on her head. She was very sick and very young – just like me. She had hookworm, mange, little fur, and her ribs were easily visible. She wasn’t fully house trained, which caused some problems.
This little street scavenger from Puerto Rico stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on her, despite her illnesses, emaciation, and semi-baldness. She liked me immediately, too. She kept coming up just to me.
This picture is of Brie, a healthy twenty-three pounds and absolutely covered in fur (to my mother’s chagrin). She was sitting in the hot summer sunshine, the way she loves. I sat on our deck outside with her, reading a book. Her honey-colored fur sparkled dimly and glowed in the sunlight. She looked around, as though she were queen of all she surveyed. The grass next door had been cut that day, and the sweet, clean scent of it had drifted over on a tiny breeze.
I could feel the weight of my rather sizable book on my thighs. My elbows rested on the corners of the book, and the edges of it pressed into my thighs. They would leave red marks later, in the shape of an open book, but that has never been something I’ve minded. It was a new book, and I could smell the ink and the crisp creaminess of the pages. I held the page between my fingertips, and I rolled them to feel the texture of the paper.
It was summer then, and the cicadas were singing. A bird twittered, and that slight breeze, stronger higher up in the sky, ruffled the leaves on the trees. The yard, my father’s pride and joy, was full of summer blooms. Roses – yellow, white, coral, red, and all shades of pink – orange day lilies, pale blue forget-me-nots, and gently white peonies gave the verdant yard splashes of color in pastels and jewel tones.
The sun was hot on my head, and I reveled in the heat I could feel with my hand on my crown. I squinted in the bright sunlight, which reflected strongly off the off-white pages of the book.
I heard a jingling. I looked up, chin in my hand. The sound continued while my eyes adjusted. There was a creamy golden being streaking around the yard. It was Brie, running her fastest in ecstasy. She continued for a minute or so, before suddenly stopping and settling into the same spot on the grass.