By Sam Marrah -
As we exited the trail, we noticed a large number of people scattered about on the right side, where the fence had been cut. Someone had even started a bonfire. It felt like a pop-up hippie commune. A tan, long-haired man wearing a dirty shirt and short shorts sat beneath the trail map, chatting politics with a stranger. Then I saw that young couple again with the two rescue dogs - the white petite husky like Anne’s dog Lukie, and the other one black and white, maybe a Border Collie mix. The white one was shy and stayed in the trunk, tucked into its blanket. As I admired them in their open trunk, the couple said I could borrow them for a while. I was a little confused, but for some reason agreed. By the time I got them situated in our mini SUV and closed the trunk, double checking that it was locked so as not to lose them, given my new responsibility, I realized I hadn’t asked for the couple’s phone numbers. I retraced my steps to their car, but could hardly see in the dark. I turned on my iPhone’s flashlight, but it was pathetic and barely lit up the dirt. Feeling increasingly worried, I retraced my steps up and down the parked cars, but their car was gone. “They left?” I wondered aloud. Someone somewhere replied, “Yeah, some people do that now.” As if that answer was enough. “What?” “You know, they sign an informal lease of sorts on dogs, but they can leave whenever, and other people can have the dogs.” It still didn’t make any sense, and I had never heard of such a thing. Arriving back to the car, I opened the door to find both of them huddled in the passenger footwell. The white one had brought its plush blanket up to the front. “You’re so smart,” I said, smiling and gingerly petting them. “Such good dogs.” Their names escaped me. We brought the dogs into the grocery store with us. For some lucky reason it was allowed. “We need to get food,” my boyfriend said, as we approached the refrigerated dairy section, and I agreed. We hadn’t eaten since lunch. “We need to get food for the dogs,” I said, suddenly wondering how long it had been since they had eaten. How could I have not thought of this sooner. “And water bowls and water.” Someone cooed on our right, and slowly approached the dogs. “They’re so sweet,” a short, brown-haired teenage girl said. “How old are they?” “I have no idea.”
Sam Marrah has worn many hats, from English tutor to freelance writer to literary journal editor. She studied Literature at UCSB's College of Creative Studies, and European Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge. She has served as an editor for Spectrum, CCS’s annual literature and art journal, and The Mays Anthology. She lives in Northern California with her 14-year-old dog.