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guinea pig IIt was an improbable story.  The guinea pig had an outdoor pen in which he could take in the sights and sounds of the natural world, every now and then.  But one day his people forgot he was in the backyard and Marshmallow made a break for it.  I didn’t get the message until the next morning so I got on the phone, hoping in the interim the pig had been found.  No such luck.

Now, I’m not a fan of “Find the Pet”; animals are unreliable witnesses to their whereabouts and this was a special case; the pig could be anywhere but it wouldn’t be anywhere he’d been before.  It would be hard for the pig to put his whereabouts in context.  I told the Person this and we forged ahead anyway.

deckHe showed me a bluish environment with a lot of long, horizontal strips.  The underside of a deck.  He was just sitting there and I understood he was patiently waiting for someone to come get him.  There was no urgency and no fear.  It was sort of peaceful. Moving above the scene I asked to be shown whose yard he was in.  I was shown the yard to the west.

Western Neighbors had a dog and kids.  They appeared to be home, but no one answered the door.  Marshmallow’s Person peered over the fence and described to me a concrete slab.  It occurred to me the pig could be wrong.  I looked at him.  He was serene.  Okay, I thought, time to look elsewhere.  Did his Person have a wooden deck?  She did!  Well duh, I thought.  Duh.  Why wasn’t that my first question?

You know, she said, I have all these Zimbabweans .  .  . 

mbiraOf course you do, I said.  It’s not a sentence you hear everyday, but in Marshmallow’s person’s life I’ve learned to expect this sort of thing.  She took up the marimba years ago; as these things go she’d graduated to a handheld wooden thingus upon which one plucked a series of hammered metal tabs.  Naturally this led to month-long sponsorships in which musicians were imported from Mother Africa on a temporary basis.  They stayed at her home, taught classes, met their American counterparts and, as it turned out later, dismantled wooden decks.

MaTennisrshmallow’s Person. This was a woman who once offered me lunch during our children’s playdate.  At the time I didn’t know her well.  The girls were served asian dumplings with soy sauce and fruit salad.  For us?  She hauled out a mesclun salad with a fancy vinaigrette, an artisan baguette, and duck confit.  Duck confit.  A specialty of Gascony.  Duck legs cooked all day in their own fat.  When the Bordeaux came out I knew it was a different sort of playdate.  Because she’d attended the Cordon Bleu.  A school to which she’d applied on a whim, during Boyfriend’s relocation for work.

In her free time, the Person played tennis and hockey and did woodwork. The best part?  She didn’t scare me.

Next Up: Marshmallow and the Zimbabweans, part II.

 

 

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