Darkness overwhelmed me as
I’ve long suspected that I haven’t been using Max to his full potential after seeing the loads of adoration he gets while on our daily walks through the ‘hood … He was a man magnet.
Sleep was impossible, so I fumbled to the desk and fired up my laptop. I squinted at the neon glow of the screen and opened an email that had been sent a few minutes before.
I have a date with your hot neighbor from across the street. He loves Max.
My friend Jenni was staying at my apartment and watching my French bulldog while I was on the other side of the world on a business trip. It was 3 p.m. in New York and I imagined she and Max just came back from an afternoon walk, where they must have run into said hottie. I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms. “What hot neighbor? I don’t have any hot neighbors?”
I said this out loud as if someone were going to affirm that Jenni was crazy. I had lived on the Lower East Side for two years among the creative hipster, Latin Cholo, and Euro metrosexual communities and although there are hot guys aplenty, none of them lived on my street. Or so I thought. I texted her immediately; roaming charges be damned!
Me: Got your email! How’d you meet him?
Jen: On the block. He stopped me to pet Max.
Me: So you just bumped into him?
I scout my ‘hood for men all the time. And although I’m smart, funny, and have been told I’m attractive, I can’t seem to find someone to last more than a month or two. I’ve had my share of disaster dates, beer-goggled hookups, and I’m over my loner, “there is dignity in being single” phase (thank you “Singles,” the movie). Every time I am out in my hood, my eyes are peeled, but Jen is in my apartment for four days and conjures up a man? What the hell?
A few days later another email came through:
He took me to Sixth Ward and then we went back to his place. His apartment is sick … the sex was great.
I bristled at my computer screen. That’s MY block, MY dog … that should be MY great sex!
I’ve long suspected that I haven’t been using Max to his full potential after seeing the loads of adoration he gets while on our daily walks through the ‘hood. I’ve witnessed the biggest tattooed tough guys crack their angry façade to bend over and play kissy face with him. He was a man magnet.
I slapped my laptop closed. That was it. I was putting that dog to work the minute I got home!
Sunday morning bath time was extra long so Max’s black coat and white tuxedo markings were shining. The both of us smelling fresh and lookin’ fly, we stepped out for our morning walk, which ended at the local coffee spot. All the other dogs were tied up and relaxing, sniffing each other’s butts, while their owners sat lined up on the benches. I tied up Max, found a spot on the bench, and let him do his thing.
“Is this your son? He’s a cute little guy.” One of the old toothless regulars I’d seen here before put his hand out for Max to sniff and lick. I smiled, knowing Max’s charms were starting to work.
I sat and read while couples brought their kids over to play with Max, other dog owners grilled me on his age and breeding, and the coffee lovers that milled in and out of the store told me how adorable he was. So far it was a good morning.
“What’s his name?” I heard behind me and turned to see dark eyes, dark hair, and muscular arms embracing Max. Caught — hook, line, and sinker! I put on my best smile and tried to reel this one in.
We talked about our mutual love for Frenchies — he had two — while Max hopped on his back legs for attention.
“Sit!” I stood and barked at Max. Chill, son, your work is done!
“Thanks.” I moved closer.
“You live around here?” he asked. He checked me out for a split second.
“No, I’m closer to Delancey Street, but this is a nice walk in the morning. You?”
“I’m up the street.” He pointed with his coffee cup in hand.
Our conversation switched to the lure of the coffee spot, the welcomed arrival of fall — its been too hot — and my recent trip to Asia, about which he seemed genuinely interested.
“I should get moving. Maybe I’ll see you here again?” he said with a smile and what sounded like a little hope in his voice.
I nodded. “Yeah, maybe,” I said with more nonchalance than I felt.
He gave Max a pat and waved as he took off down the street.
I bent down and gave Max a pat and a scratch behind the ears.
“Good boy, Max. Good boy!”