u n l e a s h e d

A man approached and I followed the leash he was holding to look down at the service dog lying next to his feet. He smiled at me, introduced her, and then himself.

“Nice to meet you both. She’s beautiful. What do you do with her?” I asked.

He looked at me as if I’d risen from the floorboards to inquire about the color of his underwear.

“What do you mean?” he replied.

“English. Was that not English? Was it an inappropriate question?” I thought while staring at him, unsure how to re-frame.

“Oh, I just meant, um, what do you do with her?” I asked again.

“Nothing. She just hangs out and lives with me,” he answered with a huge smile.

I returned his smile. It was funny to me, and awkward, because when others are observed holding onto something, whether it be a philosophy,
object, animal, or person, it isn’t assumed they are doing it for their benefit alone. Much of the time we are self-serving, whether realizing it or not. Still, it’s nice when on occasion, the response is something more than ‘Nothing’. Not because nothing is wrong or right, but because nothing and apathy are so closely related, and largely responsible for the space of detachment existing between the mind’s leash and the heart’s feet.

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