RED COAT

Sometimes it’s the little tales that tell so much. Or not enough.

Where I live a mature neighbor woman wears a woolen red coat. It’s red like cherry, bright and bold. I see the woman regularly as she walks her dog around the subdivision. I often encounter her and certainly acknowledge her, in that low-key kind of way one learns to do: a respectful nod, a quiet hello and some eye contact. But this woman only hangs her head and looks at the ground mostly, never makes eye contact in return.

She screams invisible.

I often see her in the morning (like clockwork, around 6:45), and at other random times during the day. Being that I’m outside much more than the average person no matter what the goings-on of the weather, there’s no way she can’t notice me.

You’d think.

Her protective body language has nothing to do with me of course. I’m harmless right? But I can’t help but wonder about her. The way she drags herself slowly down the sidewalk and through the parking lot tells me that she’s doing what she’s doing, but would rather be doing something else. Where is her mind, somewhere in the past? Is she thinking of a time when her heart was broken?  Or of how she should have done things differently? Maybe she just doesn’t feel good generally, who knows? I’m sure I’m reading too much into this, or discerning an abstract that just isn’t there, but the scenario happens so often and always in the same way, so it’s hard for me not to question.

Besides, I’ve nothing but time.

The funniest thing about this whole made-up story is the fact that the doggie is the one with the personality. It’s a little yappy thing. No, yappy isn’t the right word. It’s a feisty, mean and belligerent creature. Nasty. It growls and flits about in a loud and saliva-laden temper tantrum at the slightest sound or movement. Other dogs stay away. And people too. Don’t set it off! 

The lady in the red coat leads it around barking and hissing and charging at the air. Why in the world anyone would consider this an appropriate companion is mind boggling.  And is he right for her?  I’ve been the target of its slobbering killer nature many times, and just for being seen. My only reaction has been to laugh with astonishment. What would you do? I once casually remarked to her with a smile on my face that, “he’s certainly a good guard dog.” But the lady just looked the other way, had no interest in engaging. I’d really be scared too if this little doggie got off its leash and went for my ankles. I know I’d have no choice but to kick it. It’s not an animal cruelty thing mind you, purely self-defense.

Well, you may be wondering if I actually have a point to this tale that’s already gone on too long, and I do: it perplexes me that during these encounters there’s nothing at all from this woman.  She retreats behind her protective walls and makes like she’s not there, while her vicious demon of a hell-pet goes all out, causing a ruckus as it always does. This little bitch of a doggie is an amazing contrast to the sheepishness and mystery and sadness of the woman.

And makes me wanna take out a gun!

But what of her? Who is this woman in the red coat? And why doesn’t she let anything in?

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2 thoughts on “RED COAT

  1. Love the post. You’re really good!

    Out of the blue revelation: Maybe the dog’s her husband and he’s like a shapeshifter or something. Human at night, and doggy by day. On top of everything, he’s a complete nutcase. He abuses his wife at night because he’s just so frustrated with life, and hence, becomes a ravage dog by day. She’s quiet all the time because she’s just simply scared and she doesn’t what to do.

    Or, maybe she’s just mute. Who knows? 😛

    Also, the photo at the end? Simply marvelous!

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