Shepherd and Pal, Friends
(Continued from yesterday.)
Shepherd and Pal had many conversations about the cold and loneliness. Pal at times looked with great understanding and compassion while at other times looking on in wonderment and bewilderment.
“It is best you don’t know what I’m talking about,” Shepherd said, “You would look for another master.”
“Pal, a man has to do something. He must contribute to others or to society in someway. All I know is how to make a deal happen and trade stocks. It was not the fear of the city and the crime that brought me here. I face no grater fears than what I have the last two months.”
Shepherd brushed the top of Pal’s head and Pal licked his hand. “Is it affection or the salt from my skin? Will you eat me someday?” Shepherd laughed and moved to the window and thought for a while about looking out his apartment in Manhattan; the busy streets with taxies as far as the eye wandered. People rushing to nowhere. Aimless expressions. Blank stairs. In many ways much lonelier than this place. “It is strange, I was more lonely with people than without them.”
Shepherd turned to Pal, who was looking out the other window. “It all comes down to purpose. I must find a purpose or I’ll cease to exist. Does this make sense to you, Pal?”
Pal looked at Shepherd and looked out the window.
“You want to go out, don’t you.”
Pal barked and looked outside.
“Let’s go, boy,” Shepherd said. “We’ll play in the snow and I’ll show you how to dodge the taxis.”
They played in the snow till near exhaustion and played some more.
There were times in the middle of a session of wrestling in the snow that Pal suddenly disconnected and ignored Shepherd. He looked off into the distance as though
something was near. At first Shepherd tried to distract Pal. Pal snapped at him like a parent to child and as if to say, “There are more important and pressing matters in
the distance that you have no conceptual ideas about; senses you will neither possess nor understand.”
At those times Shepherd learned to fall in line with the moment, because Pal would not be distracted. He grabbed his rifle and assumed the same vigilant posture.