Taming My Inner Puppy

my father is behind the wheel
we're supposed to be going to the airport
dropping off our rental car
it's the end of our Heavenly Mountain vacation
but first
we have to go back to the resort
because a certain nine year old
insists on goodbye to her ski instructor
we can't go through this every year
dad grumbles  
it's not normal
mom shushes him
she likes that i'm a sensitive and affectionate child
who falls in love with everyone
that summer i'm at sleepaway camp for two months
it's parents weekend
i'm showing off my counselor lindy
i love lindy! I love her so much!
both of my small hands wrapped around her arm
in the faded snapshot  
attest to that
lindy is giving me the side eye
okay kid
over the next few years  
i fall in love with random people
one a private tour guide named enzo
he's shown my family pompeii and sorrento
over the course of maybe seven hours
as he's bidding a formal goodbye to my parents
i'm in the bathroom crying
hoping the rest of his life will be happy
the next winter
i fall in love with my new ski instructor
this time in lake placid new york
he set up obstacle courses of poles
i skiied around them
on progressively steeper slopes
i was good at it!
he cheered me on!
i loved him!
how was i supposed to say goodbye
and never see him again
much of my childhood poetry
could best be described as earnest
rambling stanzas extolling adorded virtues
effusive outpourings of affection
i was like a puppy with muddy paws
wagging its tail comically fast
adorable at first
soon annoying
the hints came slowly
i paid attention  
the poems grew shorter
less frequent
fewer recipients
i thought twice before hugging
hit puberty
everyone was becoming dangerous
ski slopes were scary
so were horses
by the age of 15
i was angry as hell
never figured out why
still unresolved
all my adult life
you'd likely need to hug me first
i don't trust you  
sometimes I'm still stupidly puppy like
sending foolishly affectionate poems  
to maddeningly aloof  
cat-like men
hugging them too much
hating myself afterwards
i'm more cat-like myself these days
most of the time
striving to be dignified
well-honed verbal claws
selectively affectionate
My inner puppy is still there
more settled
well versed in basic commands
paws no longer muddy
still capable of great love and affection
desiring a safe home
one that also loves cats
Written by Pinkdreams
Published | Edited 29th Jun 2022
Author's Note
The photo of me with my camp counselor is long gone, but I can still picture it perfectly.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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