“She was everything he’d ever dreamed of, beyond all his fantasies, a woman who left him both mesmerized and drooling.
But, he’d been here before.
Sonja. Helibeth. Anna. Leticia , and countless others. They’d all taken his breath away and left his heart fluttering.
“Good God,” he prayed to the unseen force he didn’t quite believe in, “please let this be different. Give me the courage…”
And that was where it ended.
Once more, courage failed to answer his call.”
“The courage to what?” interrupted my young nephew, overwhelmed with curiosity.
I paused to study the impatient face beside me.
Then I answered, “Igor was afraid to be himself. He thought that the only way someone, especially a beautiful someone, could love him was if he made himself to be whatever they wanted him to be, and that always ended in disaster.”
“Sounds like Igor had a self-confidence problem,” said the boy whose wisdom went far beyond his years. “So what happened with this babe?”
“Max saved him.”
“Max was a mutt, a dog of no particular breed but very particular character,” I answered, thinking that my nephew and Max had a lot in common.
The boy waited, knowing there was more.
I continued, “Slouched in the apartment’s only chair,a barely padded relic that had known many previous backsides, Igor nursed a cheap beer and pondered his situation. Max lay on the apartment’s only throw rug, another well worn relic, his head resting on outstretched forelegs, sad brown eyes watching the beer can waving in the air.
The can paused and Igor stared up at the ceiling, about to say something to the great power he didn’t quite believe in. Then, remembering the futility of previous prayers, Igor gulped more beer and looked down at Max.
“Max, help me out here,” pleaded Igor, “tell me what to do!”
Suddenly brought to life by inner need to contribute, Max sprang into Igor’s lap and slobbered wet tongue kisses all over the lover wannabe’s face.
“Max! Max buddy!” gasped Igor, pushing his over zealous friend back to the floor. Then, Igor smiled, and looked up at the ceiling again.
“Thank you,” he said softly to the unseen.
I stopped and looked at my nephew.
“Is that it?” he said. “Is there some moral or adult thing I’m supposed to get out of this?”
“What do you think?”
“I think Igor is better off with his dog than with fantasy lovers who don’t accept him for who he is.”
Jeez, I thought, this kid really is smart. Why hadn’t I been able to grasp such things at his age? For that matter, why couldn’t I grasp such things when I was forty or even fifty?
“Sounds right to me,” I replied.
“Tio, does this story have something to do with you,” he asked innocently.
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