A morning at a downtown "farmer's" market ends one aging man's lonliness.
There was a swarm of people at the market, especially for such an early morning hour. It was hard maneuvering through the crowd, difficult to see the booths, impossible to purchase items. There were a few booths selling fresh fruits and vegetables, one or two selling herbs, and one selling fresh baked bread. But the majority of the booths were handmade craft items, jewelry and paintings, photography and woodcarving, as well as sculptures and clothing. The most eye catching item in the whole of the market was the young senorita at the SPCA booth; she was with the cats and dogs brought for adoption. Tall, lithe, with the biggest darkest eyes I have ever seen. Her deep dark hair braided loosely down to the middle of her back. I was smitten the moment I laid eyes on her. Granted, she was in her early twenties and I was pushing sixty but the desire was overwhelming.
I wandered between the dogs and cats, casually looking at each critter that was in all of the cages. Most of the dogs were quite loud, barking frantically at the owned dogs that passed by the cages. A few were quiet; one was so timid that it pained me to watch the thing. The senorita approached the cage, and me. She looked down at the little tan dog that was visibly shaking, looking down at it with those deep dark eyes and the little dog looking up at her with eyes just as large and dark. “Would you like to see this little girl?” Her voice was soft and gentle but not timid or weak. There was strength in her voice that seemed not to fit her small frame. “Sir,” she questioned. I looked at her full in the face. “Can you tell me more…” I started to say ‘about yourself’ but caught myself, “…about her, yes?” Her face transformed, sorrow filled her eyes. She told me what they knew of her, her rough little life, and how a special home can turn around the life of this little girl. “Yours?” She bent to pick up the little tan dog. I stammered. “My what?” She held the dog in her arms, stroking it absent-mindedly. “Your home?” She held the dog out to me. It visibly shrank from me and tried to crawl deeper into her arms. “Would your home be a good fit for this little one?” I looked from the dog back into her face. She flashed a big smile that exposed perfectly straight pearly white teeth. She placed the dog into my hands before I had time to object.
I looked away from the young senorita to the pup in my arms. I could feel its shaking body lean into my chest. I looked into its eyes, as big and dark as the senorita standing before me. It almost seemed as if tears were rolling down its face.. I looked at the young senorita, at her smile, into her eyes, and realized that I was absent-mindedly stroking the dog in my arms. She looked down at the dog, her smile enlarging and her face beaming. I looked into her eyes, the deepest and darkest eyes I have ever seen; embarrassed I looked quickly into the face of the puppy, into the deepest and darkest eyes I have ever seen. I smiled and looked back up at the senorita. “My home,” I finally said, “It is a very special home.” She ducked her chin and giggled, blushing deeply. I smiled warmly at her youthful innocence. She turned from me, speaking of the paper work that would need to be filled out and the cost of adoption. I followed, nodding and inserting an occasional ‘uh huh’ and ‘ok’. She chattered smoothly and rapidly. The paperwork complete, the dog in hand, I turned from the SPCA booth, the senorita, and the Market. I looked down at the pup that remained pressed against my chest, my brown eyed girl. I decided right then upon her name, Rita..