A dog’s life

Vividly and with a swelling of the heart, I remember the first time ever I saw your face. We were both very young back then. Still pure and uninhibited. Unlike how we are now. We lived life to the full, blissfully unaware of the way of the world. We’ve had such good times together. Swimming in the creek, exercising on the oval and going on long walks in the bush. And chasing each other and eventually falling down on the grass. There we gazed deep into each other’s eyes before holding each other tightly, in the knowledge that we would always be together. No matter what.

Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Man by OlyaLole

Lying flat on his belly on the couch with his chin on a big cushion and with a look of compassion in his dark brown eyes, Bonza observed Shane as he sat gazing out of the window into the middle distance. Bonza had known his human friend almost all his life and understood the tell-tale signs that something was troubling him. It made him feel a bit restless, as he had not seen Shane, who was normally very cheerful, like this in a long time. Shane did not even look up when their neighbourhood magpie, who flew into their backyard at least once a day, started warbling to its heart’s content. Bonza, however, pricked up his ears and listened not only to the beautiful and cheerful melody, but to the song within the song. To be precise, he felt it vibrating pleasurably through his whole body, emanating a message. The message was that, although things may seem gloomy, if we accept our feelings in the present moment, we can transform these into something more positive.

Magpie Sandid

I still don’t understand how it happened. We used to tell each other everything. There was nothing we didn’t know about one another. You knew my every thought and felt my deepest feelings, as if you were me, and I knew and felt yours as if I were you. Then, without warning, you stopped talking. Well, not literally. You still spoke to me about the day-to-day things. What I mean is the more important things. The things that really matter. Those that strengthen our connection. Our bond. Those are the things you no longer tell me about. Now it feels like you shut me out of your life and that I’ll never be in it again. That hurts. It really hurts. You don’t see my tears, but they’re there alright. You closed your heart and shut me out. Why did you shut me out?

Australian Magpie Singing

While Bonza continued to enjoy the magpie’s singing, Shane kept recalling the scenes in his dream from last night, taking these in as if he was replaying a short film over and over again. The dream was about the last day that he and his girlfriend, Fay, were together. Girlfriend? He doubted whether she still was. Not that she had led him to believe otherwise. It was just that she had departed so suddenly and could not say why. As the scenes came flashing before his mind’s eye, he repeated in thought the bewildering words she spoke to him that morning after breakfast, exactly 35 days ago: ‘My love, I have to leave you for a while. I’m going home to my mum and dad’s to sort out something for myself. Please don’t ask me what or why. Just trust me. I promise you I’ll come back to you.’ When she had finished speaking and Shane saw the determined look in her eyes, he knew it would have been futile to try and stop her. So, instead, he gently cupped her sweet tear-ridden face with his hands and gave her sweet lips a long and loving kiss goodbye. 

Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Smile by StockSnap

Even though you shut yourself off from me, even though you don’t actively communicate, I feel we’re still connected. You don’t speak to me, but I still know everything about you. So, even if you tried, you can’t hide anything from me. I see your tears, I feel your feelings. Deep down, I know you still love me. And I still love you. Love is always present. It can’t and doesn’t have to be proven. You either feel it or you don’t. So, I will continue to make contact with you. I will wait patiently for you to re-emerge from your shell. Because, I know that once you do, you will communicate like you did before. You will really listen and I will be glad, because I have something important to tell you. Something that will affect your life and mine.

The Feelers – Communicate 

A few minutes later, the magpie had flown away, leaving Bonza to pay attention to Shane again. This time he no longer felt sorry for him, as listening to the magpie’s melodious song had helped him to tune into himself better and therefore become centred again. Now he was able to sense what was going on inside of Shane. ‘So, that’s what’s hurting you,’ he said without speaking. ‘You remember what she said to you, don’t you?’
“Just trust me,” Shane whispered dewy-eyed as he turned away from the window and smiled faintly at Bonza. 
Bonza barked with joy, leaped from the couch and ran towards Shane. Shane responded with an ear-to-ear smile as he kneeled down beside Bonza and wrapped his arms around him.
“Thanks mate. I needed that.”
‘You’re welcome, Shane,’ Bonza replied in his mind.
“I know I can trust Fay, but it’s just so hard,” Shane went on to explain.

Bonza looked intensely at Shane with his tongue slightly hanging out to one side of his grey muzzle, in an attempt to get him to listen again. ‘It’s not about her. It’s about you and your self-confidence. How much confidence do you have in yourself? That’s the question.’
Again, Shane was absorbed by his emotions and no longer tuned in. Bonza was quick to respond though. Going with his gut, he walked away to the sliding glass door that led to the patio, looked back at Shane and barked loudly. 
“What are you up to?”
‘Just trust me.’
Shane still did not understand, but went to him anyway. He slid open the door and followed Bonza to the garage. When they were inside, Bonza stopped in front of the rack where Shane kept his surfboards and sat there looking at Shane with a questioning look on his face. ‘Why don’t you go surfing? It ‘ll help you to clear your mind and see things clearly again.’
“That’s a brilliant idea,” Shane said, excitedly and bent down to give his four-legged friend a big kiss on his forehead.

The Feelers – Pressure Man

Water by Free Photos

When Shane arrived at the beach some 500 metres down the road from his house, he waited a while before paddling out. Standing up to his waist in the surf and tasting the salty spray of water on his lips, he stared at the sea as it produced wave after wave. He was mesmerized by its constant transition from the swell into waves, from waves into surf and from surf into swell again. It filled him with a deep sense of inner calm and helped him to clear his mind, just as Bonza had wisely predicted. 

A few minutes later, he took a deep breath, breathed out and climbed on his board. That was the moment when he himself underwent a transition. Instantly, inner calm was transformed into exhilaration as the adrenaline surged through every vein in his body. While his heart pounded away, Shane paddled with long powerful strokes towards the spot just before the swell turned into waves, duck-diving now and then to pass under the incoming waves that he encountered along the way. Before long, he arrived at his take-off point where he lay on his board patiently waiting for the right wave to build up and come his way. When it did, he paddled away from it towards the beach and waited until he felt it right behind him. 

“Come on then!” he roared fiercely as he paddled three last strokes before quickly popping upright and making his take-off. What followed, felt like a slow motion replay. Over a timespan that felt like a lifetime, but in reality lasted no longer than a few minutes, Shane forgot everything except for the present moment, in which he became one with the wave. As he rode this first wave, he felt centred again and was able to reconnect with himself.

Jack Johnson – You And Your Heart

Sea by Blender Timer

By taking your time, you will need less of it. You’ll find yourself experiencing life in the present moment without being distracted by what’s going on around you. Of what’s going on in your mind. You’ll leave all of your thoughts and beliefs behind and simply feel. Feel with your senses, feel in your body, feel in your heart. Remember your heart? That’s where you experience the connection with yourself. And only when you connect with yourself first, with your essence, will you connect with the essence of everyone and everything around you. You will no longer need words to communicate, because when you connect from heart to heart, you can communicate telepathically. This is the purest form of communication between living creatures. Between all forms of life. I know you understand this. So, do yourself a favour and listen to your heart.

Shane enjoyed the rest of his afternoon riding countless beaut waves and by the time he had finished, the sun was already making its way to its nighttime resting place. Because of its glaring rays shining just above the low dunes, he had to squint to see what was in front of him, and it wasn’t until he was making his way across the beach, that he could make out the silhouettes of a woman and a dog coming towards him.
“I promised you I’d come back.”
“Fay?” Shane asked, as if he thought that his ears were playing tricks on him.
He dropped his surfboard and rushed to greet the love of his life. Fay opened her arms and to her delight, Shane lifted her up in the air and then put her back on her feet to wrap his arms around her and kiss her lips while tears ran down his cheeks.
“I’ve missed you …” they said in unison and burst out laughing.
‘Same here,’ Bonza barked overjoyed.
“Oh Bonza,” Fay said smiling with tears of joy in her eyes as she kneeled down in front of him and gave him a big hug. “And I missed you too, of course.” 

Little River Band – Home On Monday

Beach by Pexels

Half an hour later found the three of them sitting sitting on the grass behind the beach sharing an extra large portion of hot chips that had been left unsalted especially for Bonza, and some cold beers and water to wash it down with.
“Now I’m back, I can tell you why I left, Shane,” Fay said, smiling warmly, when they had finished eating. “And, I have something important to tell you.”
Shane smiled back at her and listened closely to what she had to say.
“The things I had to sort out weren’t some things but someone. That someone being me.”
Shane looked puzzled but continued listening.
“We’ve known each other since our last years in primary school. So, you know how close I am with my family.”
Shane smiled warmly. He also had fond feelings for Fay’s parents and her ‘baby brother’.
“I wanted to spend some time with Mum and Dad, so I could feel our bond. This prepared me for the next step in my life. I want to stand on my own two feet and,” Fay took a deep breath before continuing, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Shane.”

“Oh, Fay,” Shane said, gently taking hold of her hands. “I also have something important to say. First of all, this might sound weird, but I want to thank you for leaving me.”
“Now, that is weird,” Fay laughed.
“Well,” Shane continued with a more serious look in his eyes, “it really hit me hard. Bonza knows. He had to put up with my miserable looking face, until this arvo, when he told me to go surfing. Thanks to him, I’ve learned to listen to my heart again so I can have confidence in myself first and then in other people.”
“Good for you Shane,” Fay replied with a warm feeling in her heart, before turning to Bonza and placing her arm around his shoulder. “Good on ya, Bonza. You really are a very special dog.”
“He is, isn’t he,” Shane agreed and kissed Bonza several times on his head. “I’m also ready for the next step in my life. You’ve been living with me and Bonza for nearly a year now and I really want you to stay. Do you want to stay?”
“Of course I do, silly,” Fay answered and wrapped her arms around him. “Oh, I’m so happy.”
“So am I,” Shane replied as they held each other tightly.

Randy Crawford – You Bring The Sun Out

Dog by CatherineT

That night, Bonza woke up at the foot of the bed. He looked up and when he was sure that Fay and Shane were still sleeping peacefully, he quietly jumped from the bed and walked to the sliding door. As he sat and stared up at the stars in the sky, he was overcome by a deep peaceful feeling. This was the feeling he had sensed for quiet a while. Now this feeling had become his reality. He knew what it meant and resigned himself to the inevitable. He was happy that Shane had opened his heart to him and was listening again. And yesterday evening would have been the perfect moment to tell Shane something important, but he did not want to spoil the special feeling that Shane and Fay were sharing. Besides, life had been good to him. From the bottom of his heart, he treasured all of those precious moments with Shane.

It was this same peaceful feeling that Bonza emanated when Shane and Fay found him lying in front of the sliding door the next morning. While Shane sat there quietly sobbing his heart out with Bonza’s head in his lap, their magpie friend flew to his spot on the edge of the bird bath and paid his last respects with his finest singing ever. 
When Shane had finished crying, he whispered in Bonza’s ear: “I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to you, Bonza. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for always being there for me, even when I wasn’t there for you. You’re the best mate I ever had.”

Later that day, Shane and Fay were strolling hand in hand along the beach, when Shane thought he heard a voice calling him from the slope in the sand a few metres away. It was a very familiar voice that he had heard almost every day of his life, but had rarely listened to properly. This time, he decided to listen.

Shane, do you remember the first time we met? I was a very young puppy then and you were still a little kid. Luckily for me, you happened to cycle by on the bike your mum and dad had given you that same morning on your birthday. That’s when you found me lying all cold and frightened in the bushes where my mother’s owners had dumped me. You took me in and cared for me. From that moment on, we became friends and developed a bond so deep that we didn’t need words to tell each other what we felt deep down inside. So, please don’t be sad, Shane. I’m still here, you know, and I will always be here for you. I’ve always known this. From the first time ever I saw your face, I knew we would always be together, no matter what.

Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind

Symbolism and terminology:
Bonza: Bonza or bonzer is an Australian word, meaning great or excellent
Shane: A variant of the Celtic boy’s name Sean, Shaun or Shawn, meaning: beautiful;  God is gracious
Australian magpie: Divine messenger; continuous balancing and harmonization of opposites
Fay: A variant of the girl’s name Faye, meaning: fairy; magical

Images:
‘Dog Hybrid Crete’ by PICNIC Foto Soest on Pixabay
‘Man’ by OlyaLole on Pixabay
‘Magpie’ by Sandid on Pixabay
‘Smile’ by StockSnap on Pixabay
‘Water’ by Free Photos on Pixabay
‘Sea’ by Blender Timer on Pixabay
‘Beach’ by Pexels on Pixabay
‘Dog’ by CatherineT on Pixabay

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2 Comments

  1. Michèle

    Thank you so much Wim for sharing this beautiful story ✨🕊

    So soothing

    Making the unreal real

    In all its perfection

    Of dreams come true

    Thank you 🙂🌈💕

    Reply
    • Wim Beunderman

      Hi Michèle, You’re most welcome. Thank you very much for reading my story and for feeling the essence that I sought to convey. I believe that anything can be real once we believe in it deep down inside. Just like Bonza ;-)) <3

      Reply

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