“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 59: Meet Me in the Middle

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

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All I want is to help Roxy patch things up with her sister, Molly. I don’t like the idea of getting into my own fight with Scarlett, who seems to be championing Molly’s cause without even hearing the whole story. Instead of calming them down, she’s just going to make them feel worse.

She may call herself a princess, but diplomacy isn’t exactly her forte.

“Molly,” I say, pivoting slightly to escape Scarlett’s glare, “I hear you and Roxy are having a…misunderstanding.”

Molly gives Scarlett a look that pleads for sympathy. She’s totally barking up the wrong tree! There’s no way a dog like Scarlett would be invested in someone else’s problems…

“A misunderstanding suggests an unintentional action by one or both parties. Roxy’s blatant disregard for Molly’s wishes could hardly qualify as such,” Scarlett replies in a cool bark, seeming to return Molly’s glance.

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While my brain tries to process her statement, Roxy takes a step towards her sister.

“She just used a lot of big words, but I think she’s saying I’m the one who did something wrong!” she says, her brows furrowed with frustration.

“Of course she is, because you did!” her sister replies with an angry bark.

Molly’s tail swishes slowly over the ground, but her expression is difficult to read. She doesn’t seem to be lying or trying to misrepresent their argument, and I don’t get the sense that she would hurt Roxy’s feelings out of spite.

“Roxy says you never want to play. She tries and tries to include you in her games, but you either ignore her or sit on her until she gives up,” I say, hoping to make Roxy’s feelings clear.

“Molly presents an account that differs significantly from the one you have provided. Roxy’s ‘invitations’ to play are of a violent nature – she prefers to chomp on her sister’s back leg rather than use courteous language,” Scarlett says, shooting a disapproving glance in Roxy’s direction.

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Bites her leg?

I look at Roxy, whose energetic anger seems to have settled into a sulky shame.

Well, I can see why she left that part out, but…

“You’re acting like I’m some sort of monster because I won’t play with her, but she’s just too much for me to handle sometimes. I’m not her chew toy, you know,” Molly says, turning to face me.

These sisters, a perfect match with their brown and cream coats, couldn’t be more different in personality. Roxy’s energy seems to know no bounds, and Molly doesn’t always want to keep up with her. The real problem is that neither one seems willing to really listen to the feelings of the other…

That’s right. Scarlett and I are kind of like that too, aren’t we?

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When we feel strongly that what we want is the most important thing, we miss the chance to hear someone else’s thoughts and feelings. We can’t just drag them around and expect to be understood; friendships, any relationships really, are about giving at least as much as we take.

Roxy and Molly don’t have to change their personalities or come to each other’s sides, they only have to meet in the middle!

“Roxy,” I begin, my bark bursting with excitement, “you’ve been trying all this time to bring Molly into your games. What if you tried joining hers instead? Ask her what she wants to do first.”

Roxy tilts her curly head to the side. “I’ve never thought of that…”

“And Molly, you should let her play with you on your terms. She really likes spending time with you, even if she shows it in a funny way,” I say, hoping my advice doesn’t sound too bossy.

Molly nods a bit, giving my words serious thought.

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“Molly, you’re my sister…but you’re also my best friend. I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I just wanted to get your attention. But from now on, I’ll try to listen to what you want to do instead of trying to make decisions for you. I’m…sorry,” Roxy says, her bark gentle and apologetic.

We all wait for Molly’s response, a tense silence filling the air around us. Suddenly, and to our surprise, she pounces on Roxy; at first I’m afraid she’s going to attack, but then I realize she’s only sitting on her!

“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have ignored you when you wanted to play. I’ll try to join your games more often, but you’ll have to put up with this!” Molly says, her mouth blooming into a bright smile.

Roxy wriggles around under her sister, giggling as she tries to free herself.

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As the two sisters return to their usual play, it dawns on me that Scarlett has been really quiet. Her expression is pensive, her dark eyes trained on the ground with unwavering determination.

I wonder what thoughts she’s chewing on…

“Hey, Scarlett,” I say, flopping to the ground, “don’t you think we’re kind of the same way?”

Her brows furrow.

I’ve probably pushed my luck…but if I’m already in hot water, I may as well throw caution to the wind!

“Sorry, I just…helping those two make up made me realize I haven’t been trying all that hard to be your friend. I’ve been mad at you for not playing with me at the park, things like that. I’ll sit with you in the shade for a bit next time,” I say, stretching my front legs.

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Scarlett doesn’t acknowledge what I said, but I don’t want to force her. I can only do my part to make things better.

My eyes slowly flutter closed as I lower my head, and before I drift into dreams of Bing and bacon, I think I hear her say:

“Then I suppose at the next movie night you shall have to make a space for me on the floor…”

…to be continued…