January 10, 2016
The Story of Isadora Gypsy Rose (part 2).
** Please see previous post to read part one of the story, if you have not already done so.**
My first impression upon entering the shop was that it had changed very little since I had last set foot in it , twenty years ago. There seemed to be more glass covered display cases filled with eclectic merchandise than there had once been before and the aisles of fabric and clothing were neater and somehow appeared more orderly. In earlier years, I remember merchandise had been easily or loosely strewn and dispersed about the store without rhyme or reason.The aisles, however, were still packed , crowded and draped in colourful and exotic eye-catching cloth. It could be deduced, when glancing at some of the stock, that numerous trips had been made back to the Orient, to Asia and to North Africa , since I had last set foot in the store all those years ago, but overall, its' mystical and inviting ambience remained intact. My nostrils, always sensitive to fragrance, could depict the faint scent of burning frankincense , promoting calm and peace.
I slowly made my way to the far left corner of the store as my eye was drawn to the sparkle of silver jewellery. The store was very quiet, almost still , and I wondered as to the whereabouts of the shopkeeper .
Suddenly, a young woman, a girl really, no more than sixteen or so, burst into the room grinning, her face open and fresh. I'm sorry, she explained, I was just in the back alley taking the doggies out for a little potty break. I looked behind her and I didn't see a dog or dogs for that matter but assumed she had left the dogs in a back room that was accessible to staff alone.
Was there anything in particular you were looking for ? She pressed on. I thought about telling her that I used to come to this store often years ago, that I had subsequently moved far away, that I had recently moved back to the area and that this store was the only thing that remained familiar to me, that held me closer to my hopelessly, wildly naive and idealistic youth. I wanted to tell her how everything had changed, how everything changes but knowing that she also would understand that one day, I decided against saying anything of the sort and instead asked her if she carried any amethyst.
Oh, yes, she replied enthusiastically and motioned for me to follow her as she led me to another aisle.
And that is when I caught a glimpse of a little dog or should I say when I caught a glimpse of a dog that was so little, it seemed scarcely there at all! Surely this dog was the tiniest dog I had ever seen up to that point in my life! She was red, red, red, like an Irish Setter dog red but had a single blaze of white on her chest. She looked at me intelligently with her head tilted to one side, than tilted her head to the other side. I grew almost giddy and my first impulse was to scoop her up and to slip her beneath my coat and to run out of the store with her. I willfully resisted this urge since thievery is not a characteristic I would ever want to be known for. Instead, I asked the young girl if the dog was hers. But before she could answer me, another equally tiny dog skid around the corner of the aisle and playfully began to nip at the first dog's heels. The second dog was cream coloured and appeared to be a boy. I had to sit down and so I did. I sat down in the aisle, in the middle of the store and observed the two, tiny dogs playing and cavorting and in watching them, in partaking of their innocence and purity, I suddenly felt more hopeful about the decision I had made to come back to Vancouver. I felt stronger about the decision I had made to begin a second degree, to leave my family, good friends and all that had been familiar to me behind in the east, in order to begin something on my own here. I had wanted to meet and overcome a new challenge; all the while knowing the friends I had known here in my youth were long gone, living their own singular lives in faraway places. Suddenly I emphatically felt I would achieve my goal.
What are their names I asked the fresh, young girl who remained oblivious to the choices she would one day need to make which would in turn shape the woman she would become. I fervently hoped she would choose it well. What breed are they? I further inquired. They are teacup poodles, she answered, and they weigh no more than three pounds each! The little red girl's name is, Dearest. We call the boy, Mr. Pister.
Dearest and Mr. Pister , I whispered to myself as I walked down the street away from the shop and a smile crossed my face. I vowed to visit them again and often for I had learned that they were the shopkeeper's dogs and that they virtually lived there and were rarely away.
I went back to my new life with gusto ; found somewhere to live, started my second degree, found a part-time job, found a second part-time job, moved three times, graduated, found a full-time job, found a fellow, made a home with that fellow with my dogs Masala and Allegra always in tow. Together the fellow and I adopted our first cat, Mitalee. Thus the years flew by and I never did go back to visit Dearest or Mr. Pister, my star gazing store's teeny , tiny , miniature dogs who had buoyed me back into possibility one cold and rainy day, when I had first returned to Vancouver.
During the holiday season about four years after I had first arrived to Vancouver for the second time in my life, I was invited to a Christmas party by a work colleague. Let me take a moment to clarify that I am not a party goer. In fact, I would rather be reading, or painting, or gardening, or doing something with the animals rather than interacting with people in a party setting. I love the people I love and I love them well, but I am not big on small talk or establishing social hierarchies or big on having to convince others that I am as crazy busy as they are and subsequently, equally important and successful. Yet I accepted the invitation and went to this party. I brought my dogs Masala and Allegra with me, my dogs at the time, and knowing me, that was probably one of the conditions I made before accepting the invitation in the first place . . . can I bring my dogs? Alright. Then I will attend.
to be continued.
the critters in the cottage xo