He ran away, used the rare occasion when he was not tied to the fence by an old greyish rope. The gate was open and he took the opportunity… So good, to feel the use of one´s limbs, to enjoy the speed and thud. He didn´t worry about food. When necessary, food would present itself in some form. He had lived tied up since his early days, having experienced a few short months of rolling happily in the grass and mud of the yard. Then – to protect poultry, to submit him – the rope was adjusted to his neck, but he was never adjusted to the rope.
He took the road that left his native village of Wavre and continued through the thick woods of the Foret de Soignes until the cobbled and grassy road entered into another – much bigger town and changed abruptly into bitumen…
Early autumn rainy afternoon on a Saturday, bakery doorstep on the Wavre Street:
“You wait here, Buddy, understand?” the clinking metalic leash was detached from his collar – softy-velvety on the inside, smart red leather on the outside and she disappeared deep in the shop. Buddy wasn´t worried, this had been a routine for ever, sweet smells familiar to his nose. The most unpleasant of all experiences here was when once somebody stumbled on the doormat and fell over him, Buddy barely escaped being crushed by the heavy weight. Swift reflex! Then fuss broke up, screams, and shouts. She took him under her arm and they left. He didn´t get sweet crumbles that day. It was a long time ago. Now he was more daring, and didn´t even wait on the doorstep all the time. He came in to explore the shop.
“Come, come here, you handsome boy.”
This happened quite often – he was invited at the table of strangers, caressed, patted… until she found him, her sweet paper bag in one hand, the metalic leash in the other. Off they went, up the Street of Wavre, two hundred meters to their tall narrow townhouse; there he waited, he had to wait on rainy occasions for his underparts being wiped up. The ritual walk. Later on she would take him out again – into the town garden in their street. Buddy was a lucky dog.
Sometimes, while being walked around the garden, an earth aroma, a duck´s scream on the pond or a gust of wind reminded him of other times, a hundred years ago, in a muddy yard, rope tight around his neck, the smell of wet in his fur. Only sometimes he paused, frozen in a spot, didn´t want to move on. Until she took him under her arm:
“Com´ on, Buddy, you´re being difficult today.”