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The Visitor

The VisitorRed Dog knew that something special was happening.

That morning we had picked from along the road a large bouquet of frilly Queen-Anne's Lace and we had placed it in a blue vase on the picnic table. I wore clean clothes and I stood in the backyard, every half minute glancing up the road.

And so, just one day after her letter had come, the visitor herself came. Red Dog ran to welcome her.

However, the moment she stepped from her car, Red Dog awkwardly drew back. Never had he seen any person who looked like this.

Surrounded by fields of beans and corn, she wore a pink dress and pink  high-heels. Her fingernails were long and painted the color of grapes, and her lips were red like wet cherries. The air, which during those days smelled faintly of rose blossoms and crushed grass, now tingled with the odor of perfumed talc. Beneath the old birdbox, where thirty generations of Purple Martins had reared their young, she opened her arms to greet me.

All that day Red Dog looked as if he were lost. I didn't take him on our usual morning walk. The visitor and I talked and kept him awake in the afternoon when usually he slept. I forgot to rub him between the ears and I forgot to reassure him that everything was alright.

When late that afternoon Red Dog understood that finally the visitor would go, he almost seemed to laugh.

But when the visitor's car pulled away and Red Dog looked into my face, all the gladness in his eyes disappeared.

That night we sat silently in the swing beneath the maple trees thinking about everything that had happened that day.

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