“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 10: Bing’s Diagnosis
On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…
What am I feeling?
Seeing Max barking happily with Lucy fills my stomach with a strange sensation, almost like being hungry…or scared. But what is there to be scared of if Max and Lucy become a couple?
I can’t help but move closer to where they’re talking, hoping to catch some of their conversation, or maybe to read their expressions.
“Tomorrow…would you want to play together?” I hear Max ask with some hesitation. My breath hitches a bit as I strain to pick up Lucy’s answer.
“Don’t we all play together every day?” she asks cheerfully. “Why would tomorrow be any different?”
Max looks a little surprised, but he recovers quickly. “I meant…just us.”
“Oh!” she exclaims, her tail wagging. “I guess that would be fun! But why?”
“I miss spending time with you. I feel like lately we haven’t played together as much so I wanted to make definite plans,” he says, and that weird gnawing in my gut intensifies.
Lucy seems thrilled at the idea.
Does she love him back? I’ve always thought Lucy loved every dog at the Lodge, but maybe I was hoping…
“…hoping for what?”
The fur along my spine rises like a wave. Was I just thinking out loud?! And to make matters worse, the dog who heard me is…
“Princess Scarlett! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I said that…”
Scarlett stares up at me with those huge, dark eyes that glitter in the sunlight. She tilts her head to the side, and then tosses it as if she’s suddenly irritated by me.
“There I was, taking a pleasant walk along the fence, when you assaulted my ears with your inner monologue! The pivotal feature of an inner monologue, I believe, is that it is internal. As in, not spoken!”
I hang my head a little. I can’t expect Scarlett to understand.
“I seem to be mixed up all of a sudden,” I say with a sullen bark, and to my amazement, she doesn’t walk away.
“Since I have already lost the lovely pace at which I was walking, you might as well elaborate on your trials,” she says, gently settling on the ground.
Scarlett is willing to listen? There are a thousand reasons I shouldn’t tell her. She’ll probably think I’m a dumb beagle who’s completely out of touch with his feelings! But I would be talking to myself anyway, so…
“Are you sure? I don’t want to keep you if –”
She cuts me off with a delicate cough. I’m supposed to continue.
“Max asked me for advice about a dog he likes, and I told him he should try asking her to spend time alone together. But when I realized the dog he likes is Lucy, I got this horrible pain in my stomach.”
Scarlett stares me down. “Why would that be painful?”
“I’m not sure,” I say, lying against the fence, “but it worries me. Max has been my friend since we were puppies. I definitely want him to be happy. And Lucy is the first dog here who wanted to be my friend. She helped me see how great the Lodge is for us, and she gave me confidence. I want her to be happy too. But them together…it makes me upset.”
I trail off as I watch my friends wagging their tails, playing chase games. They look good together. Lucy’s legs are longer than mine, and sometimes I can barely keep up with her. But Max is able to catch her and match her in everything. Why shouldn’t she like him more than she likes me?
“You are afraid, Bing.”
Scarlett’s bark pulls me gently from my gloomy thoughts. Her expression is sympathetic, and for a moment I’m sure she’s been switched with another dog that merely resembles her.
“All of your thoughts and feelings are symptoms of fear. You feel guilty that you are afraid, but I must inform you that this is quite unnecessary. There is a very simple, very valid cause for your fear, in my correct opinion.”
I swallow loudly before I dare ask her what cause she’s referring to.
“Then…what is it?”
Her expressive eyes narrow.
“You love her, Bing.”
…to be continued…