Joseph's Coat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Walking the dog in Central Park.

Submitted: April 16, 2007

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Submitted: April 16, 2007



He watched his German shepherd’s face disappear into the greenery of the landscaped bush. His long black snout picking up the scents of the many animals that live and walk through Central Park. Every day they walked through this part of the park, but today was different. They would jog around the pond several times and then end their exercise with some fetching; throwing a tennis ball across the green expanse always relaxed Leroy. Today, he didn’t want to do any of that.

Leroy leant over and patted Joseph around his neck. Instantly, her smell overwhelmed him. It was like it had punched him square in the nose. A strong smell of L’Oreal Paris, embedded deeply in the fibres of Joseph’s fur. He grabbed onto the dog’s black back and fell onto him, the dog overbalanced and Leroy found himself lying flat on the concrete.

Joseph’s hot breath was on his face and he sniffed curiously at his owner. Jonie’s was all pervasive around him. It was like she was standing there above him, saying “hey Roy, what you up to?” He wished she was.

“Damn, sorry Joseph,” he said to the dog.

Joseph started to lick his face. Always forgiving, dogs can take anything, even a weird owner falling on top of them, Leroy thought.

Jonie's perfume was fresh and inviting, not overbearing, it had a trace of musk, he thought, it was just like her. He could see himself in his kitchen, yesterday, garlic cooking on the stove, the phone ringing and then him dropping the receiver and falling backwards onto the wall.

Now, he inhaled his dog’s coat. It held the only thing he had left.

This intangible mist. It was bizarre how a person could be reduced to this, a tiny vapour being drawn into my nostrils, he thought.

He could almost get why dogs loved smell. Her scent had always been intoxicating for him. Deep and ephemeral, it was like the French toast she used to cook in their sunlit kitchen of a Sunday morning.

Now, her red round lips, her ‘you’re not fooling me’ smile, her curious and skeptical green eyes, were all as clear as if she was in front of him, wearing his favourite green low cut shirt. He longed to see her in this shirt again, to touch her and experience her velvety olive skin.

He tried to stand up, but as he did dizziness and grief enveloped him and he vomited into the bush. How was he ever going to escape her smell it was everywhere, in the park, in their apartment, in her books, CDs, magazines and of course her clothes, he hadn’t even ventured there.

“Come on, Jo,” he said to the dog and pulled him onto the path.

Joseph followed but quickly discovered a black Labrador female to sniff and make friends with. His nose was investigating the other dog thoroughly and the female owner of the dog laughed and tossed her long blonde hair across her shoulder. She seemed nice, Leroy thought, but what do you say “hey, my partner just died, sorry I am not overly friendly.”

Leroy managed to smile and then pulled Joseph away.

“Yes, Joseph," Leroy said to his dog as he kept looking back to the canine they were leaving behind, "I know she smelt nice, but I’m not interested in any new scents, and I don’t know if ever will be.”

Eventually, Joseph forgot about the Labrador and focused on the new items he could detect on his path home. Leroy watched Joseph’s coat and knew it wouldn’t be washed for quite a while.

© Copyright 2018 Suzanne Strong. All rights reserved.

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