Amidst the murky gloom of San Francisco’s fog, on my commute to work into the Financial District this morning, a little boy got on the bus with his mom as I yawned. He must have been no older than seven or eight. The boy resembled my father when he was that age, which is probably why I couldn’t keep my eyes off him when he sat across from me. We shook hands with a glance.
The boy sat next to a man who’d brought onto the bus a husky-looking dog. The dog sniffed the boy’s feet. The boy looked down, and it was then he realized the dog had two different colored eyes. This fascinated the boy, as did me and everyone else who’d noticed. After some curiosities were shared between boy and Mother, the boy asked the man holding onto the leash what his dog’s favorite color was.
You could see the man contemplating how deeply to go into the fact that a dog’s color perception range is limited compared to that of a human’s. Or, maybe the man was under the influence of the myth that dogs are colorblind and did not want to be the equivalent of a stranger telling a believer that Santa isn’t real.
Instead, the man simply stated, “That’s a good question. I’m not sure. He tends to be more interested in food than colors.” To which the young boy replied, “Brown. It’s probably brown.”
During an intimate moment between boy and dog, when the man reached to pull the cord to notify the conductor of his desire to get off at the next stop, the dog turned to the boy, nodded like men often do when saluting each other as they walk by, and then winked with its crystal blue left eye at the boy. The boy tugged at his mom to see if she had observed this moment, but she too was reaching for the cord.
All four got off at the corner of Market and Third streets. Man leading dog by the leash up Market Street. Mother pulling boy by the arm heading toward the Third Street crosswalk. But the dog and boy remained locked, looking back at each other in a scene of beauty, silence, and sympathy that can only be described as colorful.
Julián Esteban Torres López spent 13 university years studying Philosophy, Communication, Justice Studies, Political Science, and Latin American Studies. He’s a researcher, writer, educator, and editor with nearly two decades of experience working with publications, historical societies, and cultural and research institutions, and has held leadership positions in the academe, journals, the business sector, and history museums. His debut collection of minimalist poetry, Ninety-Two Surgically Enhanced Mannequins, can be found on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter: JE_Torres_Lopez