You never know how much you miss something until it’s returned.
My day with Pup was brief. Eight hours at best. But in those 640 minutes, my attention was drawn across a table, to the driver’s seat, towards a melting gelato. Everywhere but on myself.
When we left the museum, Pup put his hand on my thigh and I picked it up and studied his naked arm, the long shimmering hair that flowed like a river in one direction, and when combed opposite, like the hair on his head, sprung stubbornly back like a rip current.
After dinner, the server gave me a box for my leftovers. Pup watched as I slowly shoveled my pulled pork into the container. All at once Pup said, “Here, give me that for God’s sake,” and expeditiously scooped my cooled meal into the styrofoam.
“When I was a kid we had a lot of leftovers,” he said, “but you didn’t know what was in the containers, so I used my fingernail, like this, to write what’s inside,” as he inscribed the styrofoam cover.
As we sat in the parking lot of my hotel, Pup and I were both turned and leaning against our seats, heads tilted against the headrests, easily looking at the other. “What?” Pup asked.
“Nothing,” I replied quietly.
“Why are you staring?” he pointed.
“Because you’re staring,” I said and turned away.
Aware of my correction, Pup put his hand on my thigh and caressed it.
“I was embarrassed that I got caught,” he said.
“It’s called affection, Pup,” I said.
“It’s called attention, Harlan. People don’t give it away as generously as you do,” Pup replied.