Beaux gosses

Do what you’re told, and everything will be all right. – Norman Jewison

Confession (23 December 2021)

It’s the dog. It’s Bruce. You must confess, you just don’t like him that much.

Your sister Julie agrees with you that the drooling is pretty gross.

“But a guy’s gotta fart,” she says.

You don’t laugh. Maybe someday you will find the humor in Bruce’s outrageously noxious cancer-causing farts, but for the moment, there is nothing funny about them.

There’s nothing funny either about the way this hulking 73-pound dog clumsily thrashes his body around at the end of his leash every time he sees some dog he knows, or anytime he manages to sneak a fresh goose poop down his gullet.

It will end badly, you tell Julie, as in he’s going to take out one of your knees badly. You can’t afford to have even a dog you like take out one of your knees. You like your knees. They help you stand up and walk around. What will become of you without your knees? You’d rather not find out.

Saturday afternoon, at Yoleni’s, you and Antoine sit side by side at the bar which lines the window overlooking Mathewson Street, to sketch. A man drives by on a Harley, disappears around the corner onto Westminster under the watchful eye of Grace Episcopal Church. You both look up, you and Antoine. You both smile. The thought is for Sophie, for the way she comes unhinged with joy at the sound of a motorcycle. Antoine loves this about Sophie. Antoine loves everything about Sophie.

Cracks for Confession (Olneyville, Providence, 10 December 2021)

In the sketch, the little dog is holding the curtain up off the floor. He’s revealing something. But what? You know what. Antoine does, too.

“Il faut que tu acceptes mon chien,” he says over fake burgers at Plant City a few weeks later.

Antoine’s sketch versus mine from the cracks for Confession (Yoleni’s, Providence, 11 December 2021)

He’s been hoping it would change on its own, this way you have of excluding Bruce not just from activities but also from conversations. As if you wished the poor thing didn’t exist. Antoine was hoping that he wouldn’t have to bring it up. But it hasn’t changed. So here he is, bringing it up. In the plainest language possible he tells you that he needs you to open yourself up to his dog, to love him and accept him the way he has Sophie. You let him talk. You even listen. Alone in the car later, though, you think Or else what, monsieur Soued? Or else you’ll break up with me? Over a stupid dog? See if I accept your dog! See if I’ll let someone tell me what I must do!

There. You got that out of your system. Now brush your teeth, wash your face, and go to bed. In the morning, when you’re ready to see things more clearly, let me tell you what you’re going to do. You’re going to go humbly before your Lord and tell him that your one and only desire is to do his bidding. That’s right. You’re going to back down bitch, you’re going to do what you’re told.

Bruce is not going anywhere; accept him into your life you must.

Bruce (December 2023)

Trust me, this won’t be hard to do once you love him. I know you think that’s not possible. I’ve heard you say before that Bruce isn’t lovable. But how? How can you say this? You don’t know even know Bruce! If you did, you would love him, because to know Bruce is to love Bruce. But you’ll only get to know him if you let him into your home, into your life, into your heart. You would be the dumbest woman on the planet not to make this effort. First, because Bruce, c’est un beau gosse. Second, because Antoine, also beau gosse.

Think about it. Would you really want to be with a man who would abandon his dog for you? No, you would not. The man you want to be with is the one who loves and defends his dog, who shows up to Plant City wearing a three-piece suit and a bowtie to tell you with all the authority vested in him by God or whoever the fuck that you must accept this dog of his. Or else.

Admit it: you find this authoritarianism strangely and incredibly sexy.

I must confess I do.

1 thought on “Beaux gosses”

  1. Some times it takes a while to accept things in your life; but amazing what the heart will accept when you look at the brighter side of things like you said in this story.
    Dogs don’t get to choose who will take them, and take care of them. You choose them and they will love you unconditionally.


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