I saw a man in a dress and a wig walking a dog around the park not too long ago. It was a flowery dress, one with hibiscus and palm leaves trailing down the front. The wig was red, a knock-off Lucille Ball, but it worked. The dog was little and crazy-happy to be walking out in the sunshine on this Saturday afternoon in August.
The man was talking to himself, somewhat angrily, and his purple rubber flip-flops kept sliding out from under his feet, making him wobble and lurch when the tiny dog darted from squirrel to tree to passerby. He looked uncomfortable, like an invisible bra strap was digging under his arm. He looked a little sad too, like the humidity and the crowd was too much for him. He didn’t seem to be particularly enjoying his walk. It seemed obligatory.
I lost sight of him after a while. My husband and I were squandering the afternoon as only two people away from their kids can. We wandered, enjoying the aimlessness of it. We carried books in our hands but never opened them. Then, sometime later, maybe half an hour, the man came strolling by again, still talking to himself but much more relaxed, and without the dog.
It startled me a little, to see him without the dog and the leash. I watched him stroll, slower now, over…