A Simple Request
A gentle pinging on the window pane made her look up from her novel. She leaned forward in her armchair and squinted into the darkness. Snowflakes swirled and cedar branches waved wildly back and forth. She sighed. At times like this she resented having a dog. She leaned back into her chair and resumed reading. Five minutes went by. A cold, wet nose gently nudged her arm. She looked up from her page and stared at her dog, Lenny. “Do we have to?” she said. “I hate winter.” He stared back with big golden eyes. She sighed again. “Okay, who wants to go for a walk?” Lenny’s black, fur ears perked up. His fan tail began to make circular motions. She grunted as she pushed herself up from the chair.
She walked stiffly to the bedroom, Lenny in tow. She peeled off her dressing gown and nightie and quickly pulled on long underwear, thick socks, turtle neck and a wool sweater. From the hall closet she retrieved rain pants, down coat, scarf, mitts, toque and boots. Finally dressed, she reached up to the wooden peg on the wall. The tinkling of the red leash alerted Lenny and his tail moved even faster, sweeping the floor as he awaited a winter walk. She clipped the leash to his collar.
Collar up, shoulders hunched, she pushed open the back door and stepped out into the cold. Lenny followed. She felt the sting of snowflakes striking her face and quickly melting on her skin. She heard her breath, quick and loud from the effort of forging a path in the snow. She stumbled now and again.
Lenny stopped to carefully examine a mound of yellow snow, lift a hind leg and mark the pile. Each time, she stood quietly at his side. “This is his walk”, she reminded herself. Twice, a rabbit bounded out from the shadows, forcing her to grip Lenny’s leash hard.
Thirty minutes into their walk, the storm began to abate and the night skies cleared. Slowly, the moon appeared, flooding the white ground in a blanket of shimmering light. Her stride became more even and she synchronized her movements with Lenny’s trot. He stopped again to sniff a snow mound, and as he did, she looked up at the tall trees silhouetted against the midnight blue sky. The wind whistled. She softly touched Lenny’s back and felt his muscles twitch slightly. They were alone, a woman and her dog out for a winter evening walk. She smiled.