Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Walking the dogs along the river this morning, peaceful and quiet. I was mulling and musing on some details of the NaNo novel, though had one eye on the dogs, who were off-leash, sniffing every nook and cranny. We haven't been on this side of the river in weeks, so there's a vast storehouse of information they need to catch up on.
With my back to the riverbank, gazing up into the boughs of a tree for writerly inspiration, I realize the boys have stopped investigating and are intently focused on something behind me. I look over my shoulder to see a little girl, maybe six years old, scrambling up the bank with a small bucket and shovel. Within a moment a guy follows, though he isn't nearly as agile. Giggling, she says, "Daddy, you don't climb very well."
He grumbled, then slipped a few feet backwards. I quickly resumed my contemplation of the tree branches because there's nothing worse than flailing or falling and having some stranger see you do it. When I figured the man was on solid ground, I turned around.
The girl is tiny, dressed in perfect pinks and purples from her tennis shoes to the ribbons in her shiny blond hair. Big blue eyes, dimple in one cheek, happy smile. Seriously. She couldn't have been more adorable.
[And what is it about bad boys? Is it a normal girl/woman/female thing? Or is it just me that can't resist them?]
Her dad. About six-four or -five, handsome, big and no doubt bad, with long dark hair tied back, leather jacket, black jeans, motorcycle boots with silver chains, and when he smiles at his daughter, there's the matching dimple in his cheek.
Reserved, watching me from the corner of his eye as his little girl spots the dogs and asks me softly if she can pet them. Well, Max has already figured she's fair game and has dashed over to claim all the pets before Ozzy gets any. Max has yet to realize--even after living with us for two years--that Ozzy doesn't like being petted by strangers and is hanging back.
The girl asks me their names, which I tell her as she kneels down to pet Max, who is wiggling like an eel with the attention, making her laugh. I glance at the dad, who is looking at her as if the sun and moon rise and set on this child. I fall a little bit in love with the guy just for that look alone.
She spies Ozzy, who is standing off to the side of the action, and asks if she can pet him, too. I tell her he doesn't like being petted. "Can I scratch behind his ears then?" she asks. Now I've fallen a little bit in love with the kid! How cute is she? I explain that he doesn't like to be touched by strangers.
Studying Ozzy, she cocks her head. "Why?"
"I don't know," I say, "he's just always been like that."
She looks up at me, trying to fathom why a dog would not like to be petted. Her dad still hasn't said a word, just stands quietly taking it all in.
"Do you know what the word snooty means?" I ask her.
"I'm not sure." She looks at her dad. "Do I?"
I want to adopt her.
Smiling, I say, "It means stuck up, or thinking you're better than someone else." I make the gesture, tipping my head back with my nose in the air. "Ozzy is kind of snooty."
Again, she cocks her head, little wheels turning while she thinks about what I've said. Then, voice soft and deep, her father says, "Like your cousin Rhonda."
I glance at him, see the half-smile as he gazes at his baby girl, and we both see it when she suddenly makes the connection between the meaning of the word, and her cousin Rhonda. She grins, understanding. It was a perfect moment.
Her dad and I share a look, smile at each other, then he gives me a nod, takes his daughter's hand and they carry on up the path; the dogs and I return to our meander along the river.
For a brief moment in time this morning, I fell in love with the look in a father's eye, and the sweetness in a little girl's smile...