Love and "Pugs" on Union Street
I happened to stroll into the Papyrus card store on Union Street, located across from Starbucks and The Enchanted Crystal, and next door to aha yoga; I had just finished 90-minutes of vigorous flow-yoga and felt toned and refreshed, sipping a warm Venti latte. I perused some beaded and sequined birthday cards and moved on to sundry gift items. It was here that I became aware of a surprisingly cute, stout pug-dog who had evidently followed me into the card store. The dog sort of marched in quietly, and gracefully I might add, for a pug.
Looking down at him as he sauntered by, I noticed the nice glisten of his soft, tan fur and the subtle, handsome black markings. It was the first time that I have ever found a pug to be even faintly endearing. And then as the silly, yet noble, thing kept sauntering on across the dove-gray carpet straight toward the check-out counter – his buoyant, springy tail raised like a coiled flag, I realized that the dog had not followed me in at all – I was just an unscripted coincidence – but that the Papyrus store happened to be a regular stop-off for the dog – a ritual you might say that the little thing performed by instinct and memory.
The woman behind the counter gave the little dog a treat, addressing him with cooing words and patting his head lovingly. Then the owner of the dog showed himself - an attractive man in his 30’s, nicely dressed, light of hair with pleasant, if resigned, blue eyes. He took his time following the dog’s path and then – after eyeing various cards nonchalantly, he addressed the cashier, who was evidently new.
“Did they tell you about "Pugs"?
“Oh, yes,” the woman at the cash register began, blushingly, for they were both attractive people, about the same age, and their eyes seemed to lock in a telling instant. “I did see a remark in the notes here, and, I guessed by the dog-treats down here next to the phonebook…”; the woman went on agreeably, with a tinge of delight.
An edgy dresser, she wore black skinny-jeans, an open-collar, floral shirt and a fitted jacket. With her longish, mink-brown hair lying neatly over one side of her brow, her skin resembled the very image of creamy yogurt. Her body-language conveyed a certain touch of glamour: with one polished boot-tip jutting out – calves positioned in a graceful manner; while her arms and wrists were bent at elegant angles, as she talked, tilting her head downward from time to time in a way that would imply bashfulness – though I doubted whether she was really at all shy.
The dog-owner’s response was unexpected: he smiled sparklingly as the cashier chatted on, holding her gaze and nodding his head with grand smiles and quiet witticisms to her repartee; then, when the conversation slowed to a stop, the dog-owner took the cashier’s hand, rather gallantly, and held it while gazing steadfastly into her eyes. From this point, I could not hear what he was saying, and I politely wandered away from my eavesdropping perch toward the pens and stationary. Soon, however, the dog owner said goodbye to his radiant, new friend and joined Pugsy, who was waiting patiently out on the sidewalk.
Then, there was a pervasive silence in the store - with just me, the cashier and one other customer. I eventually walked up to the counter with my new glitter pen, a light-blue one, and said, “that was the cutest pug I’ve ever seen.” The cashier fumbled with the cash register, ringing up my pen and, with half-concealed Mona Lisa smiles and cheeks now the color of pink-lady apples rather than yogurt, she made tremulous, fluttery comments with regard to the pug and its quotidian return.
I then walked out of the store with a similar smile, remembering the character of new love – the way it seizes you and changes everything – how the cashier and the dog owner were going along with their everyday lives not twenty minutes ago, and now both their whole hearts and their souls were undoubtedly focused on nothing else in the world but each other. They were in another realm. As I strolled to the corner and stood in front of the Armani Exchange window, I wondered if it is ever possible to stay in love like this forever.
I decided that life and love are complicated among strangers and non–strangers alike, but that pugs have it mostly easy.