I heard a choking sound behind me. When I looked back, Cannoli was hanging from the backpack harness with her hind legs circling frantically in the air. She looked like she was riding a bike just above ground level. "Cannoli, " I yelled. I unhooked her and made sure she was breathing on her own. When I tried to get her back in the backpack, she whimpered. I talked to her soothingly yet firmly, then tried again. This time she started howling like I was hurting her. People turned and stared as they walked by. "What are you looking at?" I said to one couple. I suddenly felt true remorse for every time I'd stared at a parent with a toddler throwing a tantrum. I made a vow to be a better aunt to Tulia's kids if I ever made it out of this parking garage. I pleaded with Cannoli one more time.
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Everybody does stupid things in life. Some of us more than others. You think you're going to get away with it. Or one or both of you just stop thinking. But it happens. And when it does, you can keep drinking it like poison, or you can put it behind you and go make the most of the rest of your life.
There also wasn't one single bit of grass or dirt outside the airport. Even the median strip was a concrete sidewalk. Where did Atlanta's pet travelers pee? Maybe city dogs just learned to use the sidewalk. We kept walking. It looked like if we crossed the road that all the cars used to get onto the highway, we might come to a planted-up area, but we also might get killed. Finally, I just lifted Cannoli up and plopped her down on a great big ashtray built into the top of the trash barrel. "Good thing you're not a German shepherd, " I said.
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