A captivating night at my pub table, The Sun Inn growing in loudness with each person that comes in seeking refuge from the nightly winds outside. My wobbly table is alight in the yellow glow of a nice chandelier, my pint of ale swishing as I type. I’m surrounded by the speech and laughter of the locals; it’s become the type of London music I enjoy writing to.
While typing, I think of the peculiar night I had last night, where I spent most of the early morning hours watching the moon in the window drift over Barnes and on to my contemplative face.
And what of the moon?
It hung there, shrouded in the clouds like the round bottom of a man sitting on a toilet in the sky. I sat in my bed watching that moon, and thought it strange how I use to feel like the moon in a not so distant past- somewhat sunken, lowly, waning. And I wondered last night if the moon ever feels sad, if it has ever tired of moonlighting the world and would rather disappear behind the stars. It made me think of a line in a Yates poem that I used to read in college when lonely nights played melancholy with my emotions:
And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
I eventually found sleep and dreamt of the puppy dog that was once in my life- my Herman, my little guy- and how he used to jump in the passenger seat of the girl’s car when she would drive away, and how he would look at me as long as he could until I was out of view. I used to run to keep pace with her car so he could see me and I could see him just a few seconds longer, for as long as my running feet would allow. Herman used to wake with me in the mornings, when I first opened my eyes; he always took one, two and three puppy dog steps towards me, waiting for me to give him the okay signal before jumping on me and giving me the morning kisses he was so very fond of.
There is a little dog at The Sun Inn now, and the way he peeks at me from behind the leg of his owner, with those large, milky eyes, makes me miss Herman that much more, to the point where I would Skype my little guy if I could, so he could hear my voice and know I have not forgotten about him or how I used to call him my little paperboy, because that’s what I thought he would look like if he were a child.
Herman would sprint in the grasses on our walks through the park, growling his puppy dog growl of approval. He would kick up sand in the sandbox and run awfully funny with his rear end tucked low, almost touching the ground. He would look at me from the corner of his eyes when he was in his stubborn moods, and on certain nights I used to hold him like he was my child, rocking him to sleep when he seemed restless. I can picture him laying with me on my bed, his chin resting on my rising and falling chest.
I use to hide his treats under pillows or on top of my head so he would have to search for them, my Sherlock Holmes boy, and would laugh when he was all detective at the dog park, finding his own fun in the flowers and bushes instead of playing with other dogs. I still think of Herman at an old house in college, the way I would run up the stairs and how he would chase me and would always slam into the wall at the top of the staircase, unable to put on his puppy dog brakes, the wooden floors too slippery, and the way I would run and jump on my bed and how he would try to imitate me, mostly falling short and meeting the end of the mattress with his wet little nose.
Will he think of me when he is out chasing birds and butterflies, or when he wants a midnight snack?
Will he see my face in the moon once it leaves me in London and reaches him in California?
Perhaps I’ll meet my little guy again some months down the road. Perhaps he will have grown a few grays and whites in his yellow fur coat. Perhaps he will remember to jump into my arms, and hug me, and will say I never forgot you, even while you were away playing in that London town…
For now, I’ll finish my ale, pack up my belongings and take the short walk back through Barnes until I am in my bed, after a long day spent traveling on trains and walking through alleyways and parks and pubs, and will rest easy, knowing I am vacationing half a world away from California, where the London rain drizzles on my head, where I have found the contemplative peace I have been searching for.
So goodnight Herman…I hope you are playing in the fields with your puppy dog tongue out and about. Know I am thinking of you, and miss you a thousand puppy dog kisses deep…