The Oooeelie Myth: A dog, the reincarnation of a canine being whose space ship crash-landed on earth tens of thousands of years ago and taught humans to speak, is still trying to find his way home to Sirius in the Twentieth Century.
Oooeelie trotted down the stairs ahead of Joanna to the kitchen. She let him out into the enclosed front yard, dappled by the shade of a dozen oaks, cherry and dogwood trees, for his morning quickie. They would go for their run along the beach after she had her first cup of coffee. Joanna was slim and solid from a daily routine of walking, jogging, calisthenics and light weight training. She was 42 but at first glance appeared more like a girl. Her face was unlined, her small breasts were still pleasantly firm, her belly was just slightly rounded. That's what she looked at in other women. Their bellies. Most women at her age were moving irresistibly into square-bodies and bulging bellies.
She wore her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail that emphasized her high cheekbones and the sharp line of her chin, drawing the focus away from her rather large nose with a peculiar knob of bone. Joanna hated her nose, but couldn't bring herself to have it bobbed into a prettier face.
As she sipped her coffee, she read a paper on T.S. Elliot, one of the leftovers from the English poetry course she taught at New York University. The student, a sophomore, had been in a car accident so the paper was very late and the incomplete would stand on the student's record until Joanna graded it.
Joanna sensed that Oooeelie was ready to come in. She went to the back door and he was sitting there, patiently. She gave him some dog bones and fresh water, rubbing her hand along his side as he drank. Her favorite lines from Elliot's Four Quartets spun into her mind:
"What might have been and what has been
"Point to one end, which is always present."
The morning was her melancholy time. She had learned to deal away the gloom of might-have-beens with that recitation from Elliot. “He was a wise man, Oooeelie boy," she said at last taking the leash from the hook in the utility closet. Oooeelie danced across the kitchen to the back door, leaping and twisting and barking. "Sit!" she commanded. Oooeelie sat at the door, his short tail wagging. She hooked the leash onto his collar and they went out into the sultry June morning, the air cottony with pollution. They had hardly started down Sullivan Lane when a woman stopped her car beside them.
"Oh," she said. "That's an Airedale. How cute he is. I used to have an Airedale." "Thank you," Joanna said. Oooeelie, ever vigilant, sat watching the woman.
"They're such wonderful dogs, but I could never get mine trained. Airedales have minds of their own."
"I can attest to that," Joanna said.
At Dandelion Drive, exactly a half mile from her front gate, Joanna unhooked Oooeelie for their morning run, three miles in a loop through shady, tree-lined streets with large, comfortable houses set on broad lawns with towering oaks and sculpted shrubbery. The tranquility was disturbed only by the cars driven by commuters en route to the parking lot at the Cold Spring Harbor Long Island Rail Road station and the flashes of unhappiness that moved across Joanna's mind. She flicked those thoughts away with her mantra from the Four Quartets.