The beagle and I went walking today. It was late in the afternoon, a clear day, with just the slightest chill beginning to touch the air.
Only minutes into the walk, we encountered a white-haired older woman, walking her beagle. The two dogs snarled half-heartedly at each other, then subsided as they realised their owners were stopping to chat. The lady and I discussed beagles and their insatiable greed. The woman suddenly asked, "Is this Millie, from Smith Street?". When I replied in the affirmative, she smiled indulgently. "Oh, Ruby and Millie always growl at each other", she laughed. The two dogs stood staring off in opposite directions, like bored teenagers. The woman and I bade each other farewell. I was amused to realise that we knew our respective dogs' names, but not each others'.
I took a route past my friend Belly's house. I knew she and her family were out, but I walked past anyway. I felt a pang of loneliness. The dog and I passed by.
Up a steep road went Millie and I, to my very favourite street. It is a crescent at the top of a hill, and from there I can look out in all directions. The sun was glowing orange in the distance, turning the sky along the horizon a soft tangerine. I felt that surge of happiness that I always feel at the sight of natural beauty.
Down through suburbia the dog and I plunged. We passed a man and his son, kicking a football to each other across a quiet street. The boy, perhaps five or six, watched Millie and I intently as we strolled past. He piped up, "Dad, I wish I had a soccer dog!".
"One that likes to play soccer", he added, in explanation.
"Me, too", his father replied good-naturedly.
I grinned to myself as I strode along.
Closer to home, Millie and I passed a slim, athletic-looking couple. From a distance, I thought they were in their twenties. As we passed, I realised they were in their fifties. Their faces were a little lined, their hair was greying, but I could tell they had been a handsome couple in their youth. They were still a good-looking couple now. I wondered if they were ever sad; wondered if they ever missed the recognition that used to be given to them because of their younger glory. They nodded hello to me and kept talking amiably to each other. They didn't look sad at all.
Our street was bathed in every shade of yellow as the dog and I reached home.