She has two Labradors: Odie plump, chunky,80 pounds, so blond he’s almost white, and Phoenix who is female and chocolate. Odie is passively aggressive, lunking along at his own pace, balking the more she nags him to get going. If I pet him, he jumps all over me, spraying enthusiastic drool. He gets all the attention; Phoenix is more of a shadow.
She, Debbie, is a large rangy woman, with long legs and a fit, muscular aspect. She has an assertive pony tail bobbing as she declaims. She walks bare-headed and she wears bold colors I can spot at a distance: a bright yellow hoodie or a white Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Her boots are knee-high suede Ecco pull-ons; I knew to expect her appearance by the Ecco logo imprinted in dust or snow.
Our paths crossed often enough so that we began a dialog. We didn’t hike together. We’d chat on the trail, then move on. Oddly, we always seemed to be going opposite directions whenever we met, thus obviating the need to walk together; we both wanted a comfortable distance.
She had just come from California and was renting a house on the outer row of the subdivision,so the walking trails were right around the corner for her. She was aware of me as I frequently drove past her house, located on a cul de sac that provides access to the open fields, usually with my dogs barking their brains out.
She told her story forcefully,without invitation or preamble, repeating her favorite points over and over again, storming and gesticulating in so muscular a fashion that I frequently took defensive steps backward, seeking escape.
Nevertheless, I was always glad to meet her. The trail is very long and very silent; here was a welcome diversion. And I identified with her rage and pain; so like my rage and pain the first 13 years in Nevada.
Also, we both spent our walk time in prayer, prayer and contemplation for me these days; prayer and rage in her case.Her husband of 25 years had dumped her. He owed her money and he damn well could afford it but she’d never get it. She had an abominable job at the Amazon warehouse with a reprehensible boss.
Eventually I didn’t see her any more so she may have moved on. In writing this, I realize how little I involved myself with anyone else. I may have given her groceries at some point, but I am cloudy on that.