My Someone is so cross with our littlest dog. She is the pulliest of all the dogs, and she is pulling him down every sidewalk. When this happens, we learned, we are to stop completely and wait for her to step back. When she steps back, we are to continue walking. In this way, she is to learn that no matter how excited we are, we will get there no faster if we are not together.
This is a tough lesson for all of us.
Sometimes our shoulders ache with the pulling after long walks. She is tireless. Sometimes we wish to not stop and want to let her pull to get where we are going faster. But then, we are not together. And our hands hurt. The leash gets so tight with the pulling and the stopping and the more pulling. By halfway through our walk, my Someone yells, “You are making my hand hurt so much with the leash because of your pulling!”
She looks up at him and waits for him to move again. He unwraps the leash and rewraps it. She sits. He walks. She walks. They are a few steps in, and she is pulling.
“I’m afraid we are broken, now,” I told my Someone last week.
We have been bickering for weeks. I am sorting out dark things. My Someone is sorting out insecurities. We keep missing each other. One steps outside while the other starts talking. One checks their phone and misses the other one looking. One makes a small move to not refill the other’s glass of water when they are getting their own. One asks a question while the other one is finishing their thought. They are smalls tugs, but conscious ones, and ones we have grown lazy to remedy right away.
“We would not have jumped to use those bad words before,” I continue. “Now, they are our first words. They are losing their meaning. We are jumping to fight first.”
“I am tired of the fighting,” my Someone says.
I realize my hands are clenched. They are hurting with the pulling.
It is not so much that I believe she will stop the pulling soon. She is a puppy. It’s going to take years. But lately I find that when I am becoming most angry, my jaw grinding and the top of my brain ready to spark, I look at my hand. The leash is so tight. To unravel it and rewrap it would be to unravel it again and rewrap it again at the next block.
I stop. She stops. She looks at me. She steps back. I furrow my brow at her.
We walk further. I get angry. I look down to yell at her. And this: she is not pulling. I have not taken the time to unwrap the tight leash from my hand. I unwrap it. My jaw relaxes. The fuse at the top of my brain becomes confused and putters out.
“Good girl,” I say. She wags her tail. I take a deep breath. It is so important, no matter how much pulling, to unwrap the tightness again and again. If we don’t take the time to unravel the grip on our hands, we may not be ready to feel the small victory of two creatures finally stepping together. Even if for only a block.
We clink glasses. It’s martini hour. My Someone takes a sip. I become agitated.
“What?” my Someone asks.
“We used to cheers to something. Every time. We don’t cheers to anything, anymore,” I say.
He looks up, a little angry. Then, he unravels and rewraps. I wait and take a step back.
“To never cheersing to nothing again,” he says.
I unravel, too.
“To never cheersing to nothing again,” I say.