This story shows that you don’t have to be alone if you decide on the single life
This series tells composite stories of people who have spent much time alone.
Today’s installment tells of Melanie and her best friend Bruno, her dog.
Even though Melanie was grateful for her HR job, when she divorced her husband and got–per community property state law–half of the couple’s assets–she quit to pursue her dream of being a cabaret nightclub singer.
Melanie wasn’t the greatest singer, so she needed a gimmick. She decided it would be her best friend Bruno her bassetoodle (a basset-hound/poodle mix.) At her auditions, she’d sing the famous Diana Ross/Lionel Richie duet, Endless Love, to Bruno, having trained him to howl on command during the song. The gimmick was enough to get her a couple gigs a week at local small nightclubs.
Melanie was quite a homebody. Her daily ritual usually involved not people, but Bruno. They’d take a morning walk to the supermarket, tying him to the bike rack in front of the store. When she first did that, Bruno would howl but after a few times, he’d just lie down knowing “Mommy” would soon return. As Melanie prepared dinner, Bruno wouldn’t leave her sight, or I should say smell, lest some morsel drop to the floor or Melanie decided to break her rule of “No people food.” After dinner, they’d take their evening constitutional and after, Bruno would sit at Melanie’s feet as she watched TV or a movie, or played solitaire or Scrabble on the computer. And late at night as soon as Bruno heard Melanie brush her teeth, he’d jump onto the bed and when Melanie climbed in, Bruno scrunched up next to her legs.
And all proceeded pretty much like that for 11 years. Even though in truth, Melanie had noticed Bruno subtly getting less energetic, she unconsciously wanted to deny his mortality, so she’d brag to her friends that Bruno still pretty much had the energy of a young dog.
But one day, Melanie came out of the supermarket and Bruno wasn’t there.After all those years of leaving him in front of the supermarket, she had stopped thinking about the possibility that someone might take that big ol’ mutt. But she quickly realized that that was what happened. She raced around calling, “Bruno.” No response. Then she systematically drove all the nearby blocks, calling out, “Bruno!” with increasing urgency but then despondency. She called the police. She put up signs. But Bruno was gone.
It wasn’t surprising that Melanie would get another dog. After all, Bruno had been her best friend as well as duet partner. But what is surprising is that, in her daily ritual, she continues to leave her new dog, Lionel, in front of the supermarket.