The Bite Path
Copyright 2022 by Margie Marek
Photo by Ave Calvar Martinez at Pexels.
all happened so fast. I’ll never for certain whether the bark
and the lunge was the reason or the result of my snatching Hiro back.
sit.” she orders. The German Shepherd instantly obeys.
Tightening her grip on the choked leash, she meets my horrified eyes,
placating “I’m soooooo
alright. I don't see any blood.”
you sure?” she presses. “Check him again. What’s
He’s still white. He's smiling. I'm pretty sure he's okay.”
she exhales, relaxing her shoulders and giving us some space.
a whooshing sound like standing on the platform a little too close to
a passing train. The library looks extremely big and red. The trees
shout green leaf noises and the new spring foliage blurs together
like Monet’s Water Lillies. The air has a pulse and I can taste
fear ringing in my ears. Hiro feels extra soft and super strong.
Restraining him is difficult. He doesn’t want to be scanned
like an alien life form any longer and struggles to break free.
the problem,” I wince, noticing big, dark droplets of blood
spattering the concrete. Slow at first, the
momentum and in seconds I have a Florida summer afternoon torrential
downpour streaming out my sleeve.
hurts!!” I hear myself wail.
me help you,” she insists, roughly wiping my wrist with her
ok, ummmmmm, ….I’m Dawn. What’s your name?”
listen,..I’m taking Gunner to my car and call my son to come
get him. Do you live around here?”
I’ll drive you and Hiro home, We’ll drop him off and I’ll
take you to get help”
feel the hard ground through my exercise clothes and attempt a nod of
assent, except my head is too heavy to lift. Instead, I roll my neck
sideways resting my cheek on the cold pavement. A full-body ice-pack
straight from mother-nature.
sit up,” Dawn beseeches.
don’t want to.”
come by very here fast; they might run you over.”
I’ll be right back,” she relents, tugging on Gunners
leash and they disappear from my view.
hear a disembodied voice hovering, soft and gentle, like a white
fluffy cloud. It’s not Dawn.
excuse me, is everything alright? Are you hurt? Do you need me to
call the police?”
no police,” Dawn adamantly affirms, returning at that exact
no police,” I groggily echo, mesmerized by the spinning bicycle
son will kill me if I get his dog taken away,” Dawn confides
desperately. while squatting down to my level..Abruptly, she yanks
Hiro’s leash from my clenched fist and supports me upright. The
weight of my body leans on her, as we three wobbly make the
twenty-five step trek toward the parking lot, her car and home.
it was so fast, I… I don't know what happened first. Did I
grab Hiro BECAUSE Gunner barked or after? I can't believe I didn't
feel this. Oh I'm a mess. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Thank you for
helping,” I babble as she arranges Hiro on my lap and reaches
over me to buckle the seatbelt. Her fancy SUV feels safe and sturdy
thumping and bumping over the parking lot’s familiar
interlocking brick pavers
Dawn breaks the silence as we crest Mt. Hope Road, asking,“Do
you want to go to the hospital?”
HATE hospitals,” I confess, directing her to my house with hand
and head gestures, adding, “I hope urgent care is enough? I'll
call my dad once we’re at my place. He’s a doctor. He’ll
know what to do.”
is a nice house,” she placates, as we traverse the hallway
toward the kitchen.
shrug off her attempt at a compliment making a B-line to the sink,
grimacing and groaning as the cold water washes away the dried blood.
I fashion a makeshift tourniquet out of a twisted paper towel. It
bleeds through immediately and I change it before picking up my cell
dad’s not answering; it’s 2 hours earlier there; he’s
Where do u want to go?”Dawn asks, anxiously circling my kitchen
care is fine. If they can't treat me, they’ll send me to the
let’s go,” she directs, picking up her keys and grabbing
ahold of my elbow; stabilizing me to her car.
arrive at urgent care in under five minutes, because of its
proximity, not our speed. The waiting room feels like a social
service office or the DMV. with its fluorescent lighting, orange
plastic chairs, grey flecked tile and outdated children's toys.
woman at the window collects my insurance information and asks me a
lot of questions.
offers to pay.
the point? My insurance covers it.”
flatly refuse her offer and turn my attention back to the woman at
the window. She looks at Dawn and apologetically explains,
going to need some information from you, too, ma’am. Its the
law. We have to file a mandatory report with animal control,”,
if his vaccinations are up to date?” Dawn weakly protests.
woman at the window answers yes with her eyes and Dawn reluctantly
wait is negligible and they call us back. The nurse instructs me to
sit on the padded chair and gently begins to clean both puncture
wounds with cotton swabbed in alcohol.
may sting,” she warns, after the fact.
my hand,” Dawn generously offers.
on the adjustable vinyl lounge-type chair covered in white paper, I
stare blankly at the sandpaper ceiling and see the water stains in
the corners for the first time. I wonder how clean the place actually
is, then consciously push the thoughts from my brain, replacing them
with relief that I’m not in a hospital. I reposition myself and
hear a crinkly sound, reminiscent of walking with my Hiro over dry
leaves in autumn. This soothes me. as the light is too bright and it
smells like a basement.
least I'm not at the gynecologist,” I think.
I say that out loud?! I don’t like the gynecologist as much as
I hate hospitals”
too,” the nurse admits, winking conspiratorially.
three,” echos the doctor upon entering the room. I like her
examining the wounds on both sides of my wrist, the doctor reports I
will need a tetanus shot.and stitches. I'm starting to like her less.
tetanus shot hurt. A lot. Then, the doctor gives me a shot of
novocaine directly into the wound below my thumb. Now I don't like
her at all, and am really glad I’ve got a hand to squeeze. I
hold onto Dawn with all I've got, and maybe give an extra squeeze for
vengeance. I can’t decide which is worse, the tetanus shot or
the stitches, when it dawns on me THE WORST part already happened.
the aftermath, albeit traumatized, I bravely start walking Hiro on
the same stretch of bike path. We are swaggering more confidently as
days turn to weeks. It’s a sunny summer day,. We’re on an
afternoon walk and a chill cuts through me like a laser. I shake my
head like an etch-a-sketch, frantically erasing the unpleasant
memory. My reverie is interrupted by an approaching shadowy shape.
you?” Dawn calls out, as if we are long lost friends.
all healed, Dawn,” holding my right arm up, as proof. To
proactively protect us, I stop walking, move onto the grassy
shoulder, tighten my grip on Hiro’s leash and tell her,
“Youuuuu stay on that side and I'll stay over here.”
inevitably crossing paths, I wait until she and Gunner are a safe
distance away, before I’m able t laugh at my own wit, Stepping
back onto the concrete with my Hiro, my right arm still raised in
triumph, I shout to everyone, “Now I call this the biTe path!”
Marek resides in New York, is an animal and nature fanatic, and,
outside of her dog, Hiro, and Heritage Hills Community Theater
company, WORDS are her favorite PLAYmates. She has shown and
sold her visual art work, written and performed stand-up comedy, and
acted in a Garrison, NY production of an original play titled
Theater. Lately, her poetry has been making “guest
appearances “in her local newspaper, The Somers Record, and she
is involved in an HHCT production
of the play An Inspector Calls; learning that “good people”
transform words from PLAYmates into lasting friendships.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher