Walkers

I like watching people walk.

My hilltop front yard offers a nice vantage point to watch the walkers. Right now, an older couple is coming downhill. The man carries the same long stick he carries every walk, the woman wears the same blue-grey headband she wears every walk.

There’s a teenager up the street who walks three dogs. Her timing is always terrible: her three dogs come trotting down, and my two dogs run off the upper yard, blazing to the valley in a fit of hoooowling and squeaky angry barks. Then she awkwardly, embarrassedly, corrals her dogs while I clap my hands and shout ignored commands at my dogs. Eventually, my dogs decide to behave, sprinting towards me as though they can outrun their naughtiness.

I see a girl walking home most afternoons. She dresses all in black, even in the hottest summer afternoons, and trudges monotonously. She wears a fast food uniform, and has never smiled or waved.

The woman around the corner (a curve, really) walks her black dog every evening. There used to be two black dogs with greyed faces, calmly and patiently following familiar paces. Now there is only one black dog with a grey face. Soon, there will be none, and I wonder if she will walk alone or find a new companion.

I have my companions. Two dogs and a husband. One is perpetually smelly, one perpetually tinkles in public, and one hates the heat. We don’t walk often, or regularly, but when we do, it is a pleasant suburban chaos. We dance back and forth, untangling leashes and switching sides to match the dogs. We stop and wait for life, scoop it into plastic bags, and march onwards.

It’s all we should do, really. March onwards. Keep walking.

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