The Good Talk

Waking up this morning, I see her lying there. Stretched out. Limp. A study of perfect relaxation of all muscles. A  handsome little dog, terrier breed, in a confused fur mix of brownish shades.

The fan is stirring slowly with a soft hum, passing the bedroom air in diffusion through the light curtains. The radio plays summer hits.

“One who is happy, can never get up too early”, a famous writer stated. A wise woman no doubt, but most likely a morning person. It is closing to noon, and the wellbeing is unmistakable.

– Rise and shine you lazy bum, I tell the dog and move closer to her, inch by inch, like a giant snail.

She places a front leg across my neck and licks me appointedly on the forehead. Perhaps it’s true love. Perhaps even dogs get fur on their tongues. Perhaps she’s trying to bribe me for more time in the bed. No matter, I feel my iron will melt away. She smells faintly of warm dog paws and we lie there blinking at each other.

A text message beeps in on the mobile:

“I hear you got some plans?”

“Rather, I’m between plans, I think”, I text back.

“You mean you don’t know? You depressed or smth?”

“Nope, I’m letting Life come to me”, I reply and add a smiley.

“I see. We need to talk”, my friend decides.

“Ok”, I text. “Now?”

“No. Maybe Monday. What are you doing?”

“Dog and I are getting ready for breakfast and a good, long talk. I’m convinced she has some excellent musings about Life.”

“OK, good luck on that. I got a house full of kids today.”

Because that’s the way it is. With the house full of kids, one doesn’t have the opportunity to contemplate especially deep or hard about … well, most anything. Nor the obligation. But with a dog  …

– Come on! Shake a leg, I tell the dog again. And this time I convince both of us.

We’re loafing down to the kitchen and I try to find a suiting opening to The Good Talk. It can’t be so hard. People have them every day.

– If you’re going to take a break, you should do some planning and think it all through really well. Maybe someone could advice you. Like a personal coach. Or a therapist, someone suggests to me.

– Yes, maybe, I say. Noncommittal.

– I have a therapist that I talk to, and I’m not crazy, a colleague confides.

That one should have the need to make these two confessions separated only by a comma, makes me intensely skeptical. But, then again, I have never talked to a therapist. Unless my mother is included in the term. She never backs away from the opportunity to give advices. In particular when one does not want them. I suspect that she considers it even more necessary in those cases.

To my simple mind, professional therapists are people who ask “what do YOU think?” to every uttering one has. And even my dog can pull that off. Nonverbally, that is. But without invoicing more than a bit of extra snack in her food bowl.

– Now listen up, buddy, I say to her.

Two alert terrier eyes locks with mine over breakfast scraps. I try to come up with important things. Deep things. About what matters in life. About my plans. The sun is beaming gleefully outside and makes it hard to discipline the thoughts. It’s almost like staying to mope in your room as a kid, while the whole house sounds of life and laughter.

The dog still has her gaze fixed on me. Ready for the good talk. The lousy talk. Any words at all will drip from my lips as honey.  Never will I get a more approving listener. If I have something I’d like to get off my chest, this is the mother of all opportunities.

– You wanna go for a walk? I finally ask. The dog is beyond herself with joy. As far as she’s concerned, The Good Talk is accomplished in flying colors.

We stroll towards the local coffee bar, and the dog makes long pauses at every shrub and bush. Sucks in the scents, dances around, makes the acquaintance of every leaf and twig until moving on, apparently highly enriched.

I adjust my steps to the whimsical and worry-free Slow-fox. Tilting my head back to let the sun make some freckles. And thinking that while The Good Talk might be silver, silence is, after all, golden.

_ _ _

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