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Sam’s Blessing


For all Samantha and I have in common, we have very opposing ways of viewing the world. I like to say I find the bright side of everything; in truth, I'm cynical. I expect people to do what they have to in order to get by, and most don't care who gets hurt in the process. In my opinion, at least if you're ready for it, there are no surprises when it happens.

Sam is different, and it drives me crazy. She knows how cold-blooded the world can be and she forces herself to remain a nice person. That's a difference between her and me; I consider myself a good person, but I'm not nice. She's both.

Her unshakably positive outlook on life drives me crazy because she can maintain it despite the adversity she's had to overcome. It also drives me crazy because I can't be like that.

A good example; not too far from where she lives, sometimes, there's this large, white pit bull chained up outside of the house. I'm always aware of this dog when I turn up the block (on foot) because this dog acts as though it will attack anyone that comes into its line of sight. Therefore, when the dog takes notice of me, he starts barking, hopping, snarling, and trying for all he's worth to break free of that chain. The first time I saw this, I took a defensive stance in case the dog actually got free and came at me. Now, I'm just very aware of where the dog is since I have to get close to it in order to get to Sam's house. Every time I see this dog, from the second I enter the block to the second I disappear from its view, it does nothing but act like it wants to make me its next meal. I'm always on guard, expecting to turn suddenly when I hear that *SNAP* sound, indicating that the pit bull has freed itself and is now racing for me. My mind cycles through millions of possibilities; do I lunge out of the way, avoid being taken down? Will it take my arm off if I try to jam it down its throat? Should I go for the sidekick to the midsection when it's in mid-air? What if it's a fighting dog? What if I don't get out of the way fast enough? What if I go down? Can I get it the hell off before it takes a piece of me with him?

Blessedly, I've never had to put any of these scenarios into practice. Nevertheless, they always fly through my head as I approach the damn thing.
Sam, however, is different.
We were walking to Oktoberfest, me, her, and her three-year-old daughter, when the pit bull takes notice of us and goes off. Instinctively, I jump in front of Samantha (she hates that) because I'm more worried about her daughter than her. Sam can take care of herself.
Sam approaches this dog with absolutely no fear and all smiles. She talks to the dog. She gets within the dog's range, all the while the dog has not stopped growling or barking. My right fist clenched; I'm hoping I can get to this dog before it does too much damage to her.
Even the dog's owner is concerned. He steps outside looking as though he just woke up, pulling his shirt on. He's observant, but does nothing. Sam reaches out to the dog….who proceeds to launch the most vicious licking attack I've ever seen. The dog savagely takes to her hand and begins to horribly lavish affection on her as though she's made of milk-bone.

My jaw is on the floor, and so is the dog's owner. He just wanted to play, I hear in my head.
Sam says something Disney-ish to the dog that causes the owner to roll his eyes. I catch it and laugh. Sam ignores us both and continues onward.

For a second I just watch her. How do you do that?

I look at that, and I wonder; how many situations in my past became violent because I refused to acknowledge a possibility that there might be another way to resolve it?

I've never had that before.
That is why I am with her.


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