Roddy's Ramblings

Thoughts and tales; some of them may even be true.

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Location: Australia

Hopefully whatever there is to know about me will come through whatever is written below - whatever that may bring...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Tale... Bon Chance

“So, I don’t know…” I tailed off and looked around me. The deep valley of snow covered coniferous trees below me to the right and the high, stark stone of the mountains to the left. The long, winding gravel path I was walking along extending for a long way in front of me.
“I mean, I have no idea where I am at the moment.” I looked down at the dog padding along beside me on his three legs. He looked back up at me briefly, but said nothing.
“And where are you from? You attach yourself to me in the middle of nowhere and refuse to go away no matter what expletives I throw at you. Though, since they’re not in Bulgarian, I suppose you can’t understand them.” I shrugged and given no response carried on. “So what do I do? I’m backpacking here,” I said to him pointedly motioning to the large rucksack on my back, “in case you hadn’t noticed.” The dog gave neither a sign for the positive or the negative, but continued padding along beside me. Given his resoluteness in the matter, I decided to lay it on the line for him. “One. I don’t know if you belong to anyone so I can’t take you with me. Two. There’s a small matter of customs and immigration when it comes to animals. I can’t show up at the airport and declare that I’ve found a dog which I’d like to take back. For starters, my Bulgarian is not that good.” I stopped. He wandered on for a little, then seemed to notice I wasn’t there and turned back towards me. Seeing me standing there, he folded his legs under him and sat down keeping his deep, brown eyes on me. I was transfixed with the image and took out my camera to take his picture. It was past mid afternoon, so I pressed on. The dog raised itself, stretched, then caught up with me and kept pace. It looked up at me.
“Look, as I told you when we first met; I don’t have anything to feed you on.” I wondered which one of us I was trying to persuade. I wasn’t sure of the effect of a BeanFeast rehydrated meal on a dog, but I could guess at the side effects. “I don’t even know where I’m going…” If the dog cared, he kept it to himself. I noticed the distinctive three legged trail behind him in the snow and it made me smile, probably for the first time in a few days.
“So since you refuse to leave,” I looked down at the dog to make sure he knew I was addressing him, “what do we do now?” He kept his ideas to himself, sparing me a brief look of complete ignorance that seemed to steal inside me. I tore my gaze away to see if there was any break in the path up ahead. “If I can’t find anywhere, I don’t know what I’ll do with you. If I do find somewhere I don’t know what they’ll do with you.” My walking companion offered no thoughts on the matter and left it firmly in my court. “You don’t seem to get it. I can’t even keep pets in my house back home. It’s rented and the owners are very, very protective. There’s just no way I can look after you.” If the comments bothered him, he kept it hidden and just offered me a toothy smile for my troubles. Then he barked. I was taken completely aback, then I heard the faint noise of an engine in the distance before I saw a jeep bouncing over the rough track behind me heading my way. He barked again and wagged his tail at the turn in events. The jeep approached and stopped just ahead of me and I could see a figure in the back waving towards me. I jogged up to the window and looked in. The figure was gestulating at me and saying something that sounded like the word rhubarb repeated many times, but without the vowels. Unsure I stepped back then he opened the back door and motioned for me to climb in. I looked up at the road ahead of me and climbed into the back of the jeep closing the door behind me and the jeep took off. I was bouncing around the back of the jeep when I saw him running behind us trying to keep up on his frantic three legged run. The man across from me pointed to the dog then to me again and I slowly shook my head and turned to the window to see the frantic dog shrinking into the distance and I could feel something tugging heavily in my chest. I closed my eyes and held back.

It was several miles up the track when I was dropped off. There was no way I could have made it before nightfall to this point and I could see the coloured markings on the rocks showing the way. Slowly I headed to the stop-over camp that I could see in the distance hugged by a horseshoe ring of mountains. Staying for the night in the cold wooden hut, I got up in the morning to face the frozen snow I would have to climb very carefully to carry on. The slow progression was halted completely about half way up when I saw the tracks frozen in the snow of three legs and I knew, so deep inside, that I would never see the dog again. Even now I can feel my insides twisting when I think back and know that something had happened in that place in time that I will never be able to put right.


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