I'm standing in front of the dog. She's not dangerous.
How could she be ? She's been tied down to the same rope her whole life.
Tied so down she's not even able to stand up.
That would develop her muscle structure and in South Korea that doesn't make for good eating.
cowering too. Why wouldn't he when his whole life she's known nothing
from people but abuse ? But today will be the greatest day in her tragic
terrible life. Why ?
I have sausages.Sausages and I need something to hug.
great sausages. Probably the closest thing to meat in them is horse
anus. Quickly bought in a moment of rebellion at the 7/11 around the
This is after all the worst day of my life and I'm sick of walking past this tragic scene. Let me try explain.
an hour earlier I'm sitting in a doctors office. A few days earlier
than that I'm having a radiactive dye injected into my veins while a cat
scan buzzes and whizzes and bleeps around my stupid head. It was the
ants you see. There were ants in my head. I could feel them crawling up
and down and around my brain.
I know this is irrational but the
sensation is so vivid and unavoidably disturbing that I knew something
was seriously wrong with me. A few days later in the doctors office I'm
about to wish it was only ants.
The young female Korean doctor
greets me with a warm smile and some small talk. I read that as a good
sign. Premature over confidence is the order of the day and I fine tune
my clairvoyance when I read from her face nothing but pure horror when
she opens the results of the chart.
"Oh no" she says and covers
her gaping mouth. The fight or flight reflex throw me off my chair and
puts my back literally to the wall.
"Oh no ?" I manage to push out of my lips "Oh no what ?"
eyes roll into her head like a slot machine as she looks for the words
in English. "Sir, you have ...something...it's wrong...in your
Ah all the easy jokes but I'm not really in the most humorous of moods.
of information I should desire becomes irrelevant in the face of what
really, suddenly at the age of 29, seems to matter. And the look on her
face when she opened that folder really said more than enough.
"Treatable ? Am I going to die ?" I ask.
performs the universal gesture of "I don't know", but not unkindly by
shrugging her shoulders. "You should talk to neurologist. I call him
A histrionic smile and greeting later I find myself sitting
outside a neurologists office in the local hospital of Yongin, South
Korea. I know it's 3am back in South Africa and waking my parents up to
panic at this hour would be a pretty selfish move. But I'm powerless to
resist. What a man of any age really wants in times like this is the
cotton soft words of his mother telling him it's going to be ok and the
tough bastard, life hardened advice of his father to tell you that
whatever is wrong you will surely grit your teeth and beat the hell out
They answer. I had told them about the ants the days
before and they had written it off to me being neurotic. But they know
I'm going for a cat scan and that I won't be calling them unless
something is really wrong. Except at this point in time I don't even
know myself so the conversation consists of me telling them that I'm
waiting to see a neurologist...and ...jesus...really ? A lady is walking
out of his office and she is crying her eyes out ! Great omens. Really ?
I cut the conversation short and tell them I'll call them
after I speak to the expert. Speak was an exagerattion. He spoke no
English at all. He looked over my test results with a furrowed brow I
would confuse with concern if I actually thought he knew what he was
doing. On this person it looked rather like he did not know what the
fuck was going on. He's quiet for a long time. I'm watching his body
language for any indication of my fate but his eyes have glazed over in
what I realise is him looking for any English words that might help him.
he almost smiles as he seems to remember some English words that
vaguely relate to the context of this situation. "Tumour related" he
says as he points to a blob of white surrounded by red pen in the cat
scan chart where it's quite evident it shouldn't be white. He grins,
self satisfied that he communicated the message effectively by the
terror on my face. He writes a little note in Korean and gives it to me
and points to the underlined top.
"Taxi!" he says. Another
moment of looking for the right word. "Give taxi". He's very pleased
with himself as I slump out of his office into a world in slow motion.
don't get in a taxi. I look at the slip he's given me and all I can
make out is "MRI". The type of thing that at 29 years old I didn't
actually know much about.
But I was about to learn a lot about
these types of things in the days and years to come. But not this day.
I'd really had enough of doctors this day.
So I don't get in a
taxi. I don't give over the card. I just walk not paying any attention
at all to the direction I'm going in. I leave that all to the reptile
my broken sick brain. The reptile part of my brain I notice
as I come out of the panic attack induced stupor I'm in has walked me to
That's quite an interesting choice for your
subconscious brain to make in a time of turmoil. A convenience store
that's open all times of night. Over priced but when you really need a
snack or a beer at 2 in the morning, she's there for you. A place for
chocolates, cigarettes, chips and caffeinated based drinks. All things
the mind associates with rewards or comfort. I'm futile and hapless and
lost for cause or direction and my brain knows where to turn in times
like this. Hedonism and vice.
It's also a place for sausages. And
believe it or not that's really all my pity parade little story is
leading up to. Sausages and a dog.
So I'm back at that fence. And
there is this dog. I walk past this dog every day on my way to work and
every day it breaks my heart into a million splinters .Lately I've
tried to avoid her. Put on my ipod and walk the other side of the road.
But not today. There's really nothing left of my heart today but dust.
open that gate and sit down with that poor tortured dog. Predictably
she cowers on her back but given there's a 50% chance of that being
coincidence because the dog can't stand up so I'm not sure. If she was
bred to be a companion I suppose she she'd be something close to a long
haired labrador. But in fact I suppose the only thing that's relevant
right now is that's she's miserable. And misery loves company.
I sit down and hold that dogs face in my hands ...and I lie to that dog.
tell that dog that it's going to be ok. I look into her sweet harmless
face and tell her it's all going to be ok. And I nail that lie down with
sausages. And as I try feed her those sausages, she meets my gesture
with suspicion. What is this strange behaviour you are engaged in human ?
What kind of trickery and Machiavellian agenda is at play here ? What
horrible fate awaits me via this temptation of treats you seek to entrap
me with ?
But she has a moment of amnesia. All the pain and
suffering humans have caused her from the day she emerged into this
world as a hopeful joyous puppy are forgotten for a brief moment...and
she allows herself to indulge in a dream. A dream so simple that us free
men have stopped to bother to dream it. A dream of world where you are
wanted, where you matter, where somebody fucking cares. A gentle loving
And she eats. And I cry.
I sob. I shake
and howl. I whimper. What's coming out of the hands over my mouth is the
hangover of screams from the void of the soul. I'm truly in my mind,
literally and figuratively fucked ! I'm finished ! I'm done ! I'm over !
I'm klaar !
And this dog....she's just looking at me. She's
loving every single microsecond of our interaction. The attention, the
food, the love. In fact I doubt in the rest of my years or even the ones
gone past I'll ever know the unquestioning exhiliration that this dog
is feeling this day.
Bemused at my angst, this dog is about to
teach me something in my darkest hour about the world, so obvious but so
beautifully awful that the human mind instantly rejects any attempt to
acknowledge it. And what she teaches me is this...
Freedom is having nothing left to lose.
I dry my eyes.