New Dog, Old Name
Jazz. We were going to name our dog jazz.
One night, he sat, reclined on the couch, and I draped myself on top of him like one of the crocheted afghan blankets my aunt makes. He played in my hair, as we talked, twisting and re-twisting a small section of the kinky, curly hair near my temple. I always liked that he’d play in my hair. A lot of men I’ve encountered have been trained not to touch a black woman’s hair, especially if it’s natural. No one had taught him that lesson, and I was glad.
“Your hair smells good,” he said.
“I tried a new shampoo. And don’t try to distract me,” I responded.
He didn’t really dig dogs, but I’d convinced him we should buy one.
“If we’re going to have a dog, especially if it’s going to be one of those girly ones like you want, it has to be a male dog, and he has to at least have a cool name, if I’m going to be seen walking him.”
I suggested Welty. He suggested Butch. The game of “Name that Dog” continued, and it popped into my head.
“Jazz! What about Jazz?”
He sat … “Yep. Jazz. That’s a cool dog’s name.”
From there, we did more planning. Lots of it for the future. Neighborhoods. Children. Last names. Exes. Our frankness–our open hearts agreeing and disagreeing–was one of the things that solidified our relationship. Until it all meant nothing.
He called one day. Said he couldn’t do it anymore. The “it” to which he referred was our relationship. There was a mini-speech. Its content is irrelevant, except for the fact that it was an introduction to the end.
I cried. Was devastated, but mostly, I acted hard. “You should have known better. You have no right to be hurt,” I tried to convince myself.
I thought I’d never love again. I thought I could never be loved the way he loved me again. The words he spoke, the emails we exchanged … no one would ever do it the way he did, the way he could.
I’m past that point, however, and I know that it will come again, and it will be better than the thing was I had with him, because … I don’t know why. I’m not bitter and a fool for love? Maybe that’s why. But one thing’s guaranteed, when I get a dog (I’ve yet to get one), I will, no matter who I’m in a relationship with at the time, name the dog Jazz. Not because I long for a love lost but because it’s a helluva good dog’s name.