<-- to part 1 which has been updated a little
What Justus' plans were for me, when he left Jud on my doorstep, I don't know. But he, the dog, certainly changed my life.
No more leaving dirty spots on the floor, waiting for that one moment when I'd feel like mopping them up, all in one go. Puppy mishaps you just can't let lie around for weeks. Slowly my apartment becomes cleaner than it has been for the last months.
My son and I spend more time together, since he enjoys walking the dog with me. In the weekends we even take the german shepherd out into the wood or to the sea.
The one thing Jud doesn't break, is my morning routine. No matter how much I despise myself for it, invariably when it is sounding, I reset the alarm to yet another 30 minutes. That's what I do on my days off. On my workdays I just use the snooze button. Three times at least. And then, in panic, I push my son and my menagery through a needlessly stressful breakfast.
This day, is no different. I manage to help my son get to school in time, I take Jud for a quick morning round -the parking lot next to my house- and go inside again. The day is grinning at me, challenging me to fill it with good work, done in a good mood. The mere thought of those returning tasks, dishes, administration, litterboxes, give me the feeling that someone unseen places his hand around my throat and strangles me. I look at my living room, a bedsitter, and sigh. “What's the use? ”
I lie down on my bed, flat on my back. If I make up a good story, I have something to write later on the day, I think. That means my time won't be wasted. Isn't that sweet, writing as a legalisation of a daydream addiction. I shut my eyes and summon the characters I have been working on for a few weeks now. As they start to talk a whistling kind of sound cuts through the scene. The young german shepherd, begging for attention. I point next to me “Come here Jud, Lie down here.” As soon as he snuggles up against me, I know I can start the 'movie' again. Not so, Jud licks my hand. I move my hand away from him. A wet nose in my face, two paws in my stomach, my face being licked. Yuck. Now I have to get up, to wash my face. Satisfied Jud jumps off the bed, walks over to the door leading out. More whining and begging. Maybe the dog is right. The weather is beautiful, the sky a brilliant shade of blue. If the trees weren't bare, I would have mistaken it for a summer's day. My son will be out until dinner time, because he has homework to do at a friend's place. Instead of the usual, drudge like round, Jud and I can go some place else, explore some unknown area. Isn't 'Unknown' the middle of Jud's name? I hesitate for a moment. There will be the excitement of getting there. And then the cold to brave... only to arrive back home at the end of the day, finding the same pile of dishes I will be leaving behind me right now. The unseen hand around my throat returns for a second and I look at my computer. Wouldn't it be better to create, rather than to consume? Jud senses he is about to lose the game. He comes over to me, puts his front paws on my chest and 'whistles' again. His doggy brown eyes look straight into mine. They are so full of yearning, they're practically human. I give in. Reluctantly I put on my shoes again, reach for my backpack and the leash and off we go. First to the bus stop and then … to some unknown destination.
We go by bus, train and by bus again. In a small village I buy my lunch and something edible for Jud. Then we set off. I have a few options in the route to take in order to return back home just before my son does. But for now, these tracks coincide. The further away we get from the village, the smaller the road gets. There's been no sidewalk for some time already, just a cycle track , next to a quiet brook. As the track diverges from the stream, a narrow footpath along the bank of the stream enfolds. When the path has led us to a safe distance from the road, I unleash Jud. Justus trained him well, the dog doesn't stray and obeys me.
The brook becomes more vivid here. The trench is sloping and filled with fallen branches, causing the water to muuter as it passes by. A little more upstream the bedding of the stream becomes rougher, with large stones changing the brook's complaints into a merry chatter. Occasional snowdrops have shown up along the bank, matching the white bubbles of the brook where it clashes on the pebbles in its way. Here the path divides. One line veeres off from the brook, back to the road. The other route opens with a bridge crossing the stream, leading to a path running up a woodsy hill. I am not in the mood for another cabin in a forest. Neither do I feel like going back to the road. I look at Jud to see if has the same thought. He does, I just know so. We cross the stream by the bridge. On the other bank, we slink between the logs of the railing and here we are, on the other bank of the stream, that now laughs at our plan to leave the beaten path. Jud laps up some of its water, then, tail high, wanders further upstream. I follow him. We keep up the same pace for half an hour or so, then I slow down. It must be around noon, I want my lunch. But Jud is not hungry nor tired. He walks on, in spite of my calls. I stop. Would the dog at least mind that? A couple of hundred yards away he halts and turns to check up on me. That's all he does. He doesn't come back nor does he sit down. His eyes implore me to go on. "OK" I mutter and pace up again. "You'd better know where you are taking me." Jud scratches himself with his hindleg until I'm close to him... then he sets off anew.
I see now where he is heading to. A watermill. The mill is not working, and from the looks of it, hasn't been operative for a long time. But the house is still in use. Through the windows I can see lamps, furniture and playful, colourful, decorations. I follow Jud upto the house, planning to hook him onto his leash and keep him away from this secluded place. But the dog suddenly makes a run for it.... disappearing through the thick hedges that enclose the back yard. Quite a large, not to say immense, back yard.
Just as I muster up the courage to walk to the front, there's a new attack on the hedges. Starting from the garden side, coming my way. A dark complexed woman, of indonesian heritage, appears. She's walking on her bare feet, in spite of the cold weather.
" Is that dog yours?" She motions in the direction of the hegde and I nod. Awh, what havoc can Jud be causing?
to be continued...