"This is good," I think to myself. "This is beautiful."
I’m standing on Weeks Bridge watching a scene develop. The water is roiling in scalloped confusion down below, and the leaves of the trees above me rustle, as if whispering in the language of friction, "Are you getting all of this?"
There is a woman down there on the well-trod earth, where the grass never takes in the shade. She’s old, with short white hair and the dolven eye sockets we tend to associate with soulless bodies, or beings out of which some real essence has fled. For the past few minutes she’s been describing the same wobbly circle in her motorized scooter, exasperatedly calling out in a tremulous, smoke-cured voice, “Bubsy! Bubsy!”
Every now and then she coughs.
There is a blue and yellow pennant projecting from the back of her scooter, because sometimes, I assume, she must go fast, and if the furious flapping of the pennant weren’t there to roughly gauge her speed, she might accelerate endlessly, becoming an engine self-propelled and self-contained, rocketing along the interstate highways in a blur of white and blue, eluding speed traps and police barricades and all citizen-led attempts to slow her down.
But there is Bubsy to think about—dreams of speed must go to rest. As I watch, she removes a long and slender cigarette from a pouch at her side and lights it. It remains on her lips as she calls out once more: “Bubsy!”
So long fascinated by this woman, I’d forgotten to look for Bubsy, but it’s not hard to spot him once I start. Down by the water, not thirty feet away and yet hidden from the woman’s sight by the river’s embankment, a small white dog with curly fur is lapping at the water. There’s an incredibly short leash in a half-coil at his side, so short that when the lead is in the woman’s hand he is probably forced to prance along in a state of near asphyxiation, and so we mustn’t chide poor Bubsy if he seizes freedom when it’s proffered.
I’m sorry to say that beyond the absurd humor of senseless repetition the scene from here on out doesn’t offer much. When he hears his name, Bubsy turns his head briefly, and then returns to lapping. The woman is still trapped in the same circle; ruts are beginning to form. She’s now alternating the enraged crack of “Bubsy!” with the blubbery bathos of “Bubsy,” hoping by any means to stir within her companion’s breast the reluctant pangs of fealty.
Just as I’m beginning to wonder how long this spectacle could possibly go on, I see that Bubsy, brimful, is returning to the woman. When he reaches her, they set off, she rolling, he trotting, no attempt made on the woman’s part to reclaim the leash. It must be there to satisfy the sanctimoniousness of others, because Bubsy, as the woman now remarks, is a good boy.
He always comes back.
Bailey M. Trela '16, a Crimson FM chair, is an English concentrator in Currier House.