Friday, April 29, 2011

anticipating liberty

i was buying some bread for breakfast at our nearby bakery store. it was wednesday morning, about 5:30. i  always go at this early hour to avoid the queue later. people flock to this bakery because the bread is freshly baked and you'd be able to bring home the bread still hot.
i was third in line so i sat down at the nearby bench while the two others ahead of me were being attended to. i noticed this handsome dog lying serenely by the fence outside the house opposite the bakery. he is not a local breed. it's very evident his owner cares for him so much as he is well-groomed and very clean.

two stray dogs came by cavorting. they were so thin and their filthy fur is shedding in places. one even has this very red welt near his right thigh. i suspect some unkind soul might have whacked him hard. when the dog lying by the fence saw the playful romp of this pair he immediately stood up on his hind legs and barked at them loudly.  it was not a menacing bark or a threatening bark. rather, it was an invite. he wants to play with them. he struggled hard to be near the two dogs which abruptly halted their play to ogle at him. yet, he could not move another inch closer. his leather tether's already stretched to its full length. his neck was outstretched. i felt his metal collar might choke him. he kept barking.

the two dirty dogs might have understood him for they went near him. the three dogs stayed close together sniffing each other the way dogs do. pawing each other in recognition. i imagined i stared long enough to somehow see the dogs smiling. then suddenly from nowhere, a young man, presumably the tethered dog's owner, came out shouting angrily and shooed the stray dogs away,  flailing wildly at them with a broom he was holding.


the frightened dogs scampered away past the bakery. the young man went back inside after seeing that the stray dogs were already far off.

the beautiful dog was again standing by his hind legs. pawing the air, whining, as if pleading for his newfound friends to come back. his leather tether was again stretched to its full length, his metal collar again choking his outstretched neck. his eyes were fixed to where the stray dogs were cavorting, romping freely. one of the dogs looked back at him then carelessly dumped his bony body down on the paved road and furiously licked the red welt on his thigh.

i stood up when the bakery guy cued me it was my turn to be served. he had just taken a tray of freshly baked bread from the oven. lucky me! they were piping hot. i am already anticipating the sight of butter melting on my bread, then oozing slowly down its browned sides. a visual delight!

the handsome dog, anticipating liberty, but,

liberty is not like butter on hot brown bread.

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