Once Around The Block.

by Serge Bielanko

We've had so many thunderstorms lately that they've totally lost their romantic summery vibe. Instead they have become these sickly shitting elephants that storm around all drunk on their own fat juice, ruining otherwise perfectly good afternoons for what? For to piss me off, that's what. So yesterday when the sun appeared in the sky after hours of ominous thunderstorm darkness, I grabbed Violet/strapped her to my chest/leashed the dogs and we all went out in the world.

Flower petals dripped. The roads were streaked with silvery wet. Tree barks were grown darker. Max and Milo aimed at puddles and plopped through them. I navigated some alleys, took us past a flock of rose bushes in explosive bloom. Yellows, pinks, whites. I let Violet stick her teeny fingers into a wet red one. She tried to eat the fallen rain, of course.

We walked the walk we walk when we have to. When the rain is too much to go down to Dog Canyon and we have to just stroll around our 'hood instead. Birds had begun to sing again. I told her to listen to their warbles. I can't tell yet whether she really notices bird songs or not. As we passed a stoplight at a busy intersection I noticed a young dude in his Volvo leaning toward his passenger seat so he could view us better, us After Rain People. At first it creeped me out a bit/getting gawked at on our walk. Then it occurred to me that here I am, a grizzly looking bearded paint-splattered pants-wearin' fellow in a camo bandanna lugging around a precious pale bambino in a pink pajamas. AND I have two big black dogs bobbing and weaving out in front of me...both of them hooked up to bright red leashes that they tangle in constantly.

And we're the only ones walking down the street at the tail end of rush hour. So, ok, I could understand this guy and a couple other people staring at us. Smiling. A baby makes people happy. Going home makes people happy. Two dogs with lapping tongues makes people happy. So what if camo bandanna guys by the curb makes people see if they have any extra change in the cupholder. I"M WITH THEM, DICKWEED! THEY'RE STRAPPED TO ME!!! Jeezus.

Twenty minutes later as our Motley Wagon Train pulls up on the house, I notice Monica sitting in the car in the driveway. She is staring at us and even from half a block away I can see she's smiling big.

I puff out my chest and lift Violet high. I yank the leashes to give shock the dogs into cool submission. My wife gets out and starts coming at us.

"I went to tan on my lunch and stopped in here and got freaked out because the stroller is still here, your car is here...", she says as she kisses Violet and stuff.

"We needed to get outside after all the rain," I answer.

"You guys are so cute coming down the street...(looks at Violet) You love that Papa huh?? You love walking with that Papa! (looks at me) She is smiling huge right now."

"You look like George Hamilton," I say. Just for the fuck of it. I am ignored.

"I gotta go....gimme a kiss." She leans in and kisses me. The world stops. That doesn't happen much/ever. I spin kinda. I got kissed. Me. By Monica. On the lips, yo. She seems so casual about it too. What the fuck?

She leaves back to work. We all head in the house. Me, licking my lips. I have been admired on the streets this evening. And kissed on the mouth. I tell Violet we need to be seen in public more. Together.

She cries for her food. I go to get it, no questions asked.