The Death of Their Dog

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The Death of Their Dog

Ellen Holmgren and Ludvig Karlsson started to argue bitterly, now and then. Now and then, they stopped not to love each other sweetly. Somehow somewhere their relationship has had clicked. They cemented their chemistry of body’s interpersonal chemicals.

She loves him intensely.

Also, he loves her intimately.

They had a hectic weekend. They went for parties with their mates on Friday and Saturday evenings, after returning on Sunday morning they rested past noon. They were preparing for the week ahead: Monday morning. They liked their jobs but if they would have had a choice they would have done something else with more involvement and commitment. Yet they performed their duties as part of their jobs like an app on a smartphone for their livelihoods.

Ella wished to become a theatre artist but she ended up at the University of Gothenburg’s economic department as an administrator.

Ludvig desired to become a guitarist in a music band but he ended up as a supervisor with a private construction company in West Sweden.

Their professional disappointments dissolved as they started to enjoy watching performing arts as an active audience. They forgone to go on holidays beyond Denmark and Germany but they liberally spent their money on attending plays and operas and concerts.

As the Sunday noon was inching faster, and Monday morning not far away, Ella suggested Ludvig to take their dog for a walk.

Ludvig obliged willingly. He knew she is a better cook than him, and she prepared yummy food when she is left alone in the house. Even his presence in the house made her distracted especially the bleeps of his smartphone or his tup-tup of footsteps (also musical, at times).

Hjalmar Brantingsplatsen is one of the crowded junctions of Gothenburg where the trams and buses converge and disperse in different directions. Trams have a straight rail-tracks but buses can arrive and depart from three directions.

Ludvig sat on a narrow patch of green lawn sandwiched between the mainroad aside the junction and the tram-track along with the dog. He threw a ball, the dog fetched. He threw a ball, the dog fetched. He threw a ball, the dog fetched. Throwing and fetching went on for more than two dozen times.

The dog guessed in which direction he threw. He liked the dog’s guess: You can manufacture a guess in a human and an animal!  But Ludvig also disliked the dog’s guess: a dog accurately guessing ‘my mind’!

The ball started to go in different directions. Yet the dog detected the direction of the ball. Ludvig felt defeated in front of a dog. He began to outsmart the dog by throwing the ball in unpredictable directions. When the dog failed to guess, it adopted its strategy. Wait and watch; what’s the hurry. He was annoyed with its slow reaction. He threw the ball harder and longer. It went far. Luckily, no trams arrived and departed. The ball rolled down on the exclusive roadway for the buses. The dog sprang in the direction of the ball, and focussing on it to get it without showing any care for anything else.

The dog and the ball were flattened under a bus that just took its turn.

The commotion and the police and the commuters’ eyeballs all happened quickly.

Ludvig returned to the flat with the dog. Ellen saw the dog. More than the anger, sorrow in her surfaced. She cried uncontrollably. He profusely apologized to her. He was smitten with guilt, guilt for being in the scene of death in which he had no control. But he scolded himself that he should have been careful, and hidden his beastly temperament towards the humans’ best beast.

Ellen loved the dog intensely and intimately. Ludvig sensed she will ask him to get out of their house but the contract is on her name. He sat with the dog on his lap in the doorway by the shoe rack. She said, ‘My fault, I shouldn’t’ve asked you to go.’

‘Let’s bury the dog,’ Ludvig suggested, ‘and go our way for the day or for another day, and see. What happens.’

Ella’s tears had abated. Ludvig was still with the dog on his lap, tearful. She hugged him, patted him on his back, and suggested, “We’ll bury the dog, and buy another one.” She added, “We should plan to have a baby.”

“Now, that would be better,” he noted.

The dog: gone away.

And, a baby!: on the way.

The unpredictable incident came to further cement their chemistry, for now.

—Lucinda Palme