Having just returned from a week in New Mexico, I brought home with me the expected — a volume of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, a recipe for amazing guacamole, a pair of gorgeous turquoise earrings. B. brought home with him the unexpected — a love bite from a donkey.
I know. But an adorable donkey that lived just across the road from the casita we were staying in developed a crush on my husband. Who could blame her? It all began with our morning walks on the unpaved country road. We’d pass cows, chickens, horses, dogs (some of which came out to greet us and lead us along) and Julia (pronounced Hulia), the donkey.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a donkey close up, but they’re actually quite cute. Long brown ears. Big brown eyes. A sweet little white stripe around their muzzle. And a braying sound that could peel the paint off your walls. Julia did not disappoint.
On the first day of our walk, she just looked at us. B., chatty New Yorker that he is, felt compelled to start a conversation. “Good morning, Julia,” he said. “How’s it going, sweetie?” On subsequent mornings, Julia actually walked over to the fence to let B. pet her. I teased him that her braying in the middle of the night was actually her serenading him with a donkey lullaby.
By the end of the week, she got so close that she leaned her head against B. and nuzzled his arm. And wouldn’t let go. Again, who could blame her? Julia hung on to his arm for only a moment or so, but when B. managed to disengage, he was left with a donkey love bite that turned black and blue later on.
Now not only was Julia adorable (a donkey fatale, if you will), she was also really smart. She knew that she had to apologize to B. for potentially breaking his heart (at least she didn’t break any skin). So the next morning, the moment she saw us walking, she loped over to the fence to greet him. This time she nuzzled very gently, making sure not to hurt him. Apology over, she then went back to her donkey duties.
Just another day of donkey business.
© 2013 Claudia Grossman