Ma chère Marie,
You will never know, but our lives are full of tipping points. Defining moments whose outcome dramatically changes our future. Although they are plenty, tipping points are surprisingly surreptitious. They shape our fates without we ever realize it.
One month ago, we lived such a tipping point. Ten minutes that brought you into our lives.
It was a Saturday in Marseille. Carla and I went for lunch a bit later than usual. We found an Italian place at the Canebière.
We had been talking about adopting a dog for months. But we knew how difficult it would be. We travel all the time, keep two houses in different cities. Adding a dog to this equation would be to ask for trouble, we thought. Between Carla’s pizza and my escalope Milanese, we talked about that, as we did so many times before. Just for curiosity, I googled for pet shops in the region. There was one five minutes away. Why not stopping by?
We left the restaurant at 2 pm, walked up the Boulevard de la Libération to the animalerie, and you were the first thing we saw there. It was love at first sight: I entered the shop already knowing you would come home with us.
But let me come back to the tipping point.
In France, it’s common that shops close for lunch; then, they reopen at 2 pm. I didn’t realize till weeks later, but that was the case of the pet shop too.
Marie, had we left the Italian restaurant at the Canebière maybe ten minutes before, we would have found the pet shop still closed. We would have walked back down town for a coffee. Most probably, we wouldn’t have returned there, as it was out of our regular way. Ten minutes, and we would have never met you. Our lives would have just followed as before.
Those ten minutes made the difference between adopting you into our family or not. And I’m so glad we did.
Suddenly, our lives entered into a new dynamical regime. Everything in our routine was rescheduled around you. I discovered myself to be a dog person. Our dinner conversation now typically turns around when, where, and what you pooped. (This is probably something we should rectify.)
You’re our constant source of joy, but also of worrisome. I fear about your little heart, prone to a fatal congenital disease. Centuries of selective breeding made you as lovely as fragile.
I worry about the world stepping on you. People pushing in the Metro, throwing their garbage on the street, not stopping at the red lights. Naming them band de chiens wouldn’t be respectful to you, specially taking into account that their brains are 15 times bigger than yours.
You still don’t know, but you’ll go into surgery next week. The vet made it clear that sterilization is the safest option for you. It scares the hell out of me to think of you being butchered in that clinic. I’m anxious about the days to come that you won’t be able to rabbit through the garden (that’s how we refer to you beautiful way of chasing and running). You love it so much. I wish I had just a single excuse to not let you go into that vet’s room…
Marie, tipping points are amazing; tipping points are terrifying. Without any warning, they turn our life upside-down. And the second law of thermodynamics grants that more often than not the new equilibrium we move into is worse than the previous one, where we comfortably rested. Accidents, illnesses, death are trolls hidden behind the potential barriers, ready to jump on us.
But sometimes a tipping point reveals a better fate; when it does, we name it a bless.
Marie, those ten minutes, that Saturday in the Italian restaurant at the Canebière were a bless.