Chapter Five

The morning of the garden walk turned out to be a beautiful day filled with sunshine, blue skies, and puffy white clouds.  Mommy had me up early and ready to go. Of course, by early I mean ten thirty in the morning. Also, when I say ready to go I mean hanging around waiting for her to shower then both of us having a nice leisurely breakfast.  At a few minutes past noon, we stepped out into the beautiful day. As I said we were ready to go nice and early.

Our journey took us down the street and past Rufus Johnson’s home.  As we drew closer, I slowed down and stretched out my neck to peer over the chain link fence that encased the backyard, but there did not seem to be any sign of Rufus or Mr. Johnson.  My shoulder’s dropped ever so subtly. 

“They might be out for a walk or visiting some friends or something,” Mommy said warmly. 

I glanced up at her and blinked my eyes.  I didn’t think I was being that obvious about it, but apparently, my disappointment stuck out like a sore thumb.

“Look, we will be passing the house on the way home, maybe they will be back by then,” Mommy said, offering me a morsel of hope.

We continued down the street and passed Rufus’ home and then turned down his neighbor’s driveway where we then crossed beneath an arched pergola that served as a gateway into a fenced-in backyard.  Mommy noticed the stain on the wood pickets and pointed out that they matched the pergola perfectly.

On the other side of the entrance, the two of us followed a stone walkway that weaved its way through the space with such precision and intricacy.  The whole experience was like something from a fairy tale.  The owners had gone to great measures to ensure that the entire yard was composed of flowers and shrubs that seemed to be expertly matched together in complementary ways.

Each bend in the path led us into a different color scheme complete with distinctively individualized features.  At first, we were in a wonderland of blue and yellow that swirled around a pond that turned out to be home to a family of goldfish, then a moment later we were reveling in a fantasyland of purple and pink constructed around a fountain of porcelain buckets.  Water would cascade from one container to the next, all the while dazzling with reflections of sunlight until at last the liquid emptied into a large basin with a splash. On and on it went until we had come full circle and found ourselves standing in front of the pergola, which only now we noticed, had a canopy of plump purple grapes nestled on the top with vines upon vines full of the fruit winding their way down the corner posts of the structure.

Stepping through the archway and back into the mundane world left a sorrowful longing to return to the garden in the pit of my stomach.  It only took one look at Mommy’s face to see that she too had that melancholy feeling of having to say goodbye as well.

“Wow, that was incredible,” Mommy declared on our way down the driveway and back toward the sidewalk

“It was!”

We turned left and continued down the street where there was one more house with a sign on it before we reached the corner.  The home was a two-story green Victorian with black shudders on the windows and flower boxes with foliage spilling out in a cascade of gold and green.

The backyard was nowhere near as creative as the first garden we saw. Instead, this home featured smaller clusters of flora designed around a shed that had been converted into a rustic sitting room with gorgeous views designed to give its owners the rare ability to follow the lives of the butterflies and bees that were drawn there.

Leaving the second home behind, Mommy and I had made a zig-zag around the corner and down an adjacent street where we entered our third garden of the afternoon. Still, in a tizzy from earlier, I scanned the yard excitedly at the shrubs and flowers. I had only now become conscious of the fact that I had begun to take deep breaths, savoring the sweet floral smells in much the same way as a fine wine connoisseur does with a vintage bottle.  I am so glad that Mommy had this idea and even happier that she decided to bring me with her. 

Examining the pink and white hydrangeas and the splendid monarch butterfly that was floating around them worked miracles in helping me to forget all about New York and my troubles with Rapi. The day had been fantastic and held so many fresh and fascinating memories that it left me with only one regret … that the big orange tabby wasn’t here to experience this with me.

An image of the cat staring out the window waiting for us to come home popped into my brain.  The thought set off a tsunami of nausea in my tummy.  I had done Rapi dirty. The realization of what had happened and my role in the whole affair worked its way around inside my head and suddenly this day didn’t seem so fun anymore.

“What’s wrong sweetie,” Mommy said crouching to the ground and taking my face in her hands.

I didn’t respond right away.  I was too overcome by the heaviness growing inside my stomach.  Instead, I silently looked back at her, lost in her concerned gaze and honey-brown eyes.

She began to say something but before she had a chance to get the words out a giant droplet of water splashed against my nose. We both glanced up.  The sky chose that moment to open up and bombard us with a deluge of water from the heavens.

“Time to go!”

Her voice was a perfect mixture of disappointment and laughter. We made a mad dash, dodging the raindrops the best we could, which quite honestly wasn’t that good because we were both soaked.

“Look,” she said pointing towards a restaurant with outdoor seating under a canopy.

“I see someone with a dog.  You should be welcome there.   Let’s grab a bite and see if this will pass,” she called out over the drumming noise of rain as it splattered against wood and concrete. 

My tongue drooped from the side of my mouth.  I thought about answering her, but she wasn’t in the mood to wait, instead, she began pulling me toward the protective shelter.

“Right on,” I howled back, never one to turn down food.

The shelter of the overhang felt good. The outdoor patio had been set up with three tables to the left and three to the right separated by an open area in between so that the servers could move about freely. 

Only now that we arrived did Mommy see the problem that had been concerning me. The outdoor seating area was full. She turned to gaze back out at the street.  The rain had picked up and was coming down even heavier than before.

“Why don’t you join us?  We have room at our table.”

Mommy and I turned our heads in unison to see where the voice had come from. It was the bald man with the white puppy we had seen earlier.  He greeted us with a warm smile and then rose to his feet.

“Please, we don’t bite, but I must confess Mylo here likes to flirt with the ladies, and he is an aggressive kisser,” he said gesturing towards his canine companion.

“Plus, it is better than being caught out in this,” he added, nodding his head towards the driving rainstorm

“You’ve got a point, but only as long as we aren’t a bother,” Mommy answered nervously

“No trouble at all,” he said motioning for Mommy to take a seat.

“C’mon baby,” Mommy said, giving my lead a gentle tug, then pulling out the chair and gracefully sliding into it.  I on the other hand followed suit by planting my backside on the ground at her feet.

“My name is Noah, by the way, welcome to our table!”

“Thanks, I’m Sarai, and this girl here is Cindee,” she answered, tilting her head in my direction

“Hello there gorgeous,” he said, leaning down to peek under the table at me.

“Did you get a chance to get out and enjoy the Garden Walk today?  It was a nice morning for it.”

“Just a little.  Unfortunately, we got a late start, but what we did see was incredible,” Mommy sang the praises of the event in her signature sing-song voice.

“I hope this isn’t too forward but, I noticed your accent and couldn’t place it.”

“Oh, that!  I am originally from São Paulo.”

“Brazil?  That’s fascinating.”


“Well, I guess for me it is. I don’t get to meet Brazilians every day.”

He let out an odd-sounding chuckle.  It didn’t seem to bother Mommy too much, because she gave him one of those smiles that showed her teeth.  I like to call it her happy smile.

“What brings you to Western New York from Sao Paulo?”

“Well, we have been living in New York right up until a couple of days ago. I came to the states to study English at NYU and loved it so much that I got my degree in it and then took up writing.  Something still felt like it was missing so I accepted a job at the university here.”

“Wow, that is so cool.”

“Don’t mind him he is such a nerd!”

Shockwaves tumbled through my body at the sound of the strange voice. I had gotten so caught up in eavesdropping on Mommy and Noah that I had forgotten about the little white puppy sitting across from me.

We stared each other down for a moment then burst out into laughter. He was kind of cute for a youngster.

“Wanna see my ball?  I call him Mr. Fuzzy Face,” he said dropping a small blue ball that had a strange resemblance to Grover from Sesame Street.

“Um, no thanks.”

My voice was polite, but truth be told the thought of putting that matted spit-soaked cat toy in my mouth revolted me.

Before Mylo had a chance to say anything else, we were both distracted by a woman with blonde hair that was swept up into a ponytail.  She approached the table all bubbly and full of smiles.  With her tablet in hand, she turned and asked Mommy what she would like for lunch. I must admit I was upset when she ordered a Caesar salad and Diet Pepsi.  Mylo’s eyes lit up however when his dad began to place his order.

“I will have a veggie burger with barbecue sauce, pickles, onions, and horseradish sauce with a large fry and a Johnnie Ryan, please.  Oh, and could I also get a plain hot dog with no bun?”

“Yes sir.  Can I get you anything else?”

Noah glanced down at me and smiled, then turned his blue eyes on Mommy to peer at her from behind round glasses.

“How about Cindee? Can she have a hot dog too?”

Mommy thought about it for a moment or two while I waited with bated breath.  Finally, she locked eyes with me.  The corner of her lips turned up into a tender smile.

“I don’t see why not.”

My eyes met Mylo’s.  We each grinned wildly and then howled with great satisfaction at our good fortune.

© Copyright 2023 H. Scott Moore

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About THe Author

H. Scott Moore, a native of Western New York State, grew up enjoying the rhythm of life in the changing seasons. One day, he became intrigued by his dog, Cindee, and what she might be thinking and feeling.

Inspired, he set out to create a world that combines his passion for animals and his curiosity about the natural and supernatural worlds. The result is a space where we can travel with Cindee and her friends and enjoy their adventures too!

When he is not working or creating, H. Scott likes to spend his time on the trails with Cindee, Mylo, and his wife Simone.


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