Andy made a ball with each fist and pushed both hands down in his trouser pockets, feeling the comforting enclosure and the warmth from his thighs. He pushed down a little further, enjoying the resistance and the springiness of the cotton. The gesture somehow seemed to calm his thoughts.
“I think it’s shocking the way people treat their pets ”. Declared Alice.
He emerged from his thoughts long enough to grasp the intonation but couldn’t really reconnect with what Alice was saying.
If only she could speak a little less aggressively, he thought and shuffled from left to right and back again trying to disguise the movements by nodding his head at what he thought were appropriate moments.
“They just don’t feed them properly.” She continued, unabated.
He really did his best to appear interested but feared that he might not be convincing enough.
He muttered approval while raising his eyebrows and hoped that this was a convincing gesture of friendly understanding.
“Some people never even bother to walk their dogs, they just let them roam in the garden”. She added.
He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and shifted his gaze long enough notice the Ice-Cream van approaching and heard the tinny melody, made, he was sure, to remind us of childhood pleasures.
An idea formed in his mind. A plan. An escape route.
“I know what your thinking Andy but I do my best. Said Alice. “I can’t always find the time to walk our three dogs every day but I do feed them a balanced diet. You know that, don’t you.”
Andy nodded, pulled his hands from his pockets and pointed to the Ice-Cream van.
“Got to go, Alice, I promised to get ice cream for the kids. Nice chatting with you.”
Graham Lawrence, 17.6.2015