by Kate Feld
I am sitting in the cafe by the cathedral. I am at the little table in the window where I always sit, looking out. A woman approaches, walking down the paving stones from Cathedral Gardens towards Blackfriars. She is striding along with two enormous dogs trotting beside her. One on the right side. One on the left side. Flanking her. In perfect formation.
These dogs are huge, powerful beasts. They are white with black spots, but they are not Dalmatians. No. They’re much bigger. They have red collars around their thick necks. They are not on leads. There is a sign but she doesn’t care. She is walking through the public spaces of the city with enormous, threatening dogs who are not on leads.
I look closely at the woman. She isn’t young, she isn’t old. She’s wearing glasses and her long brown hair blows behind her, blown back by the force of her passing. Her clothes are stylish and unconsidered at the same time.
She pauses in her step and dogs pause with her. She doesn’t need to lay a hand on a dog’s back. They know.
But there is something about her face.
You look at this woman and you understand at once that she has no intention of putting her dogs on leads. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
I stand up so fast that I knock over my chair. The crockery clinks and the ladies at the next table look up in alarm. “I love you” I say, to the woman and her dogs. I say it too loud, for these ladies and this café. I watch her until she and the dogs have rounded the corner. Then I pick up my chair and sit down.
About the Author
Kate Feld is a writer of essays and short fiction whose work has appeared in Neon, Caught by the River and is forthcoming from Litro. She runs creative nonfiction journal and reading series The Real Story in Manchester, UK, where she also works for Manchester Literature Festival and teaches journalism at Salford University.