Don Marler recently challenged KAC members to enter a contest and define their own concept of verbal, situational, and dramatic irony—and to include written examples.
Last Saturday, I was honored to receive the winning award from him for the Kansas Authors Club Master Definition Contest. This was my entry.
I’m not an everyday jogger. In fact, I don’t like to jog, but I’d put on a few pounds and thought maybe I could exercise them off. On the first day of my new routine, Monday of course, I hadn’t gone far in the park when I had to stop and suck in some much-needed air. I looked around to see who was watching. That’s when I first noticed her.
She was sitting on the ground witnessing a frenzied skirmish between a squirrel and blue jay, their discord filling the air.
I spoke to get her attention. “Nice, peaceful day in the park.”
She turned her head my way.
I was taken aback with her deep, umber eyes. They held a sadness that made me want to rush toward her, hold her, and tell her everything would be fine.
We both jumped when the jay jeered. A flash of blue swooped at the squirrel perched on a sturdy limb, but the bravado attack was bogus. At the last second, the jay ascended without striking, leaving his adversary flicking his bushy tail and crying out squirrel curses.
“That was quite a show, don’t you think?” I said.
She turned and started walking my way when we both heard a whistle. Not far away, a man was waving and beckoning her to join him. She never gave me another thought as she quietly turned and dashed away. When she caught up to him, they both took off— running side by side.
I hated the guy. He’d taken the bright spot of my day away from me. He hadn’t given me a chance to even talk to her, learn her name, find out where she came from.
I laughed at my folly. Why did I care? I was perfectly happy on my own. No attachments. No commitments. No responsibilities.
I was disappointed I didn’t see her again. On Friday, I stopped jogging and sat on a bench by the place where a jay and a squirrel had once done battle. I bent over, put my head into my hands, covered my eyes, and mourned the loss of something I’d never had. I don’t know how long I was there before I felt a wet tongue licking the back of my hands.
“I’m so sorry,” said the man standing beside her. “Ginger was my Dad’s dog, and she’s a bit lost without him.”
I stared. He was the man who’d taken her away from me the first time I saw her.
“I’m really sorry. I know she should be on a leash, but I wanted to give her one last, free romp, before... It breaks my heart, but I’m going to have to take her to the pound. Dad’s gone now, and I ship out of the country tomorrow, and...”
Ginger was standing before me, tail wagging, eyes still longing. I didn’t ever want to lose her again.
“Pound?” I said. “Surely we can work something out.”