She was very attractive. Long and slender, with big eyes ringed in kohl like some Egyptian beauty but not at all aloof. No, she was frisky and playful. And heartbreakingly affectionate. She knew how to win over hearts.
"Shall I call you Cleo?" I laughed as she ran after some sand crabs.
"Or do you like Nefertiti better?"
The Tattooed One wasn't answering. Just splashing in the waves, running up ahead to chase a booby or two, digging in the sand to expose a hidden crab.
"I know you're thirsty," I kept rattling. "But we'll get to that sweet, sweet water soon. Aguadulce...aguadulce...."
She walked with us all the way up the beach to the north end where there a spring poured fresh water into the bay and we all refreshed ourselves in the cool water. By then, I was calling the caramel-colored girl Dulce, for her personality was as sweet.
"Are you coming with us, Dulce?"
We turned around to walk the 4km back home and Dulce didn't hesitate for a moment. Sometimes ahead of us, sometimes behind, but never too far away. When Big Dog stopped to take a photo, Dulce would look up, walk over to me and lean against my leg. Even Big Dog was impressed.
"Not only is she clean and good-looking, she's smart and so well-mannered! Wish our ranch dogs were more like her!" and we talked about how we would NOT adopt her. We had to. We had to give each other reasons why that was a Bad Idea.
Back at the trailer, I got a tub of water for her. When she whimpered, Big Dog let her into the trailer! (That was a surprised even to me!) But Dulce didn't start pouncing on the sofas, or chewing on stuff. It was as if she already knew what kind of behavior would allow her to stay with us and what wouldn't. She found herself a cool spot on the tiled floor and lay down until it was time for us to go and try to find some food. ("Which taco stand shall we go to tonight?")
Dulce came with us to the taco stand, got a few tidbits, then came back home with us for more chow.
"Do you remember Teo? That gay boy who followed D.?"
"Yeah. I can't believe D took him to our island," said Big Dog. "I don't think D knew Teo was gay. He probably thought, oh, good, a houseboy."
Teo was a good kid. Girly and giggly but very sweet, he looked after D like a girlfriend even though D was Very Not Gay. Funny how we both remembered Teo after more than 30 years.
"Maybe Dulce's like that. Maybe she finds a new 'friend' each season to love in return for food and shelter," I wondered.
Dulce slept on our porch last night as I dreamt of taking her home with me. And when I woke, I was practicing how to say "where does one buy dogfood in this town" in Spanish.
But by then, Dulce was gone. Gone, with a tiny little piece of my heart.
Labels: friends, matters of the heart, Mexico