I often see these two, passing by the window of the bookstore – the dad and the little girl. On their way to the bakery on Saturday mornings for a morning glory muffin. Sometimes just the dad, racing to meet his carpoolies. When he's not in a rush he taps the glass, and I let out a majestic yawn. He likes that. The kid loves it. She'll squeal, or hide her face in her dad's chest. I can hear her through the glass. Kitty, she'd exclaim back in the day, but lately she says Hi, Dos. She knows my name. Her dad must have taught her that trick. Once they came through the door and she touched my nose. I wasn't so keen on that.
Friday evening they stop by, and I hop from the counter by the cash register and meet them at the window. Looks like a pleasant night out there, really too warm for this time of year. The dad's wearing a different jacket, a nice one, and a black flat cap. Not his usual grubby toque and parka combo. The little girl has her pink winter coat on, speckled with tiny white hearts. Her hat with the chinstrap. A neck-warmer.
Something's a little off with her tonight – I don't think either of them realize it. I squeeze through the tchotchkes and get right up to the glass and blink. I could let out a majestic yawn, bare my fangs, but she might get too excited for her own good. Dad's trying to get a rise out of her. He points at me. He grabs her arm and waves it. Hi, Dos, he says, hoping she'll do the same. But her eyes glaze. She tucks into his neck.
He should get her home. I think he's enjoying the hug, or what he thinks is a hug. He gives her a little boost, securing her in the crook of his arm. She looks at me. Poor thing, I think. She lets loose a torrent of barf, down the front of her coat. Beige stuff. Looks like muffins and apple pie filling. Dad's eyes balloon, but neither of them make a sound. It keeps coming, and coming. On both their coats now, and their pants. They should get moving. It's a block or so to their house, but dad's feet won't work. My stars, it isn't stopping. Someone passes by. They face me to hide the spectacle. Dad looks around. Looks like he has his wits back. About time. They bolt, and veer sharply into the back lane.