She would like to have been able to say that she thought long and hard about what she did to Honoré. That she genuinely felt remorse for leaving him behind the second she gathered together the plans necessary to make her escape from Paris for the summer. But the truth was, it had already been on her mind as early as April that she would need to ditch him when June rolled around. Even though he had only just come into her life in December, a Christmas present from her then boyfriend, Benoît, who broke up with her on New Year’s Day, Honoré now only served as a reminder that yet another one of her relationships had failed–and just as she was about to turn thirty in February.
Being trapped alone in her apartment in the abyssal nineteenth arrondissement with Honoré also seemed to make her despise him, as though she blamed this innocent black cocker spaniel entirely for her plight of singledom. Equating him with the final pleasant memories she shared with Benoît before he left her for his ex-girlfriend (one can never compete with the high school sweetheart, for this is the girl who allows men to forever associate themselves with their boyhood peak). Therefore, his presence was but a daily bittersweet reminder, with more bitterness than sweetness tied to poor, unwitting Honoré.
Still, she cared for him, even if grudgingly. Taking him on almost daily walks to Buttes-Chaumont and ensuring his twice a day meals were as delicious as her own (often giving him the extra portion from whatever she had cooked for herself that day). In return, Honoré was the loving, docile creature that dogs are expected to be. Following her wherever she went, he was, it seemed, totally unaware of her contempt. He was so attached to her that he always made it a point to be touching some part of her body with his own–whether that meant sitting on her foot as she stood at the counter or placing his paw on her hand while she watched TV.
Laurent went along with it until one day, as summer approached and she feared not being able to secure some sort of getaway with a friend or acquaintance privy to a pied-à-terre ideally on the Côte d’Azur and hopefully large enough for many pieds to pack into, she snapped at Honoré for his loyalty. Or rather, his method for manifesting that loyalty by constantly attaching himself to her. As the heat of her apartment also caused her mood to reach a boiling point, she screamed at him as she kicked him in the side. It was a forceful kick, not violent enough to break a rib, but still cruel enough to send Honoré fleeing to a corner of the room where he cowered in fear of this new Mr. Hyde side of his master. What had he done that was so wrong except love her unconditionally?
Laurent, feeling a vexing pang of guilt hours (not seconds, mind you) later, when Honoré was still curled up in the corner doing his best not to approach her out of the terror she had instilled within him, walked up to him cautiously with a piece of bacon in hand that she was using to prepare a pasta carbonara for dinner. Unable to resist the temptation, he galloped over to her and took the bait, licking her hand in gratitude. His effortless forgiveness made her disdain for him flare up all the more and she retracted her hand from him quickly. She could feel the hate inside of her brewing to a point of no return. And she knew that if she didn’t 1) get out of her environment soon and 2) leave Honoré behind to give him what would ultimately be a better life, she was going to explode. And her blameless dog would be the one to experience all the aftershocks.
The following morning, as the Earth approached a point on its axis that led humanity to buy into the date of June 13th, Laurent received a much needed call from Esmée, the friend she had been waiting on to confirm whether arrangements for a retreat to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin were in place. Informing her that it was a go for the next morning, and that if she intended to come she needed to be ready to get in the car by eight a.m., Laurent looked over anxiously at that blight upon her existence: Honoré. He, in turn, gazed up at her lovingly, giving a yip to show he could barely contain himself with his affection. She sighed and rolled her eyes, assuring Esmée she would be ready to ride.
Benoît was never one for doing things “officially.” Everything about him screamed “under the table.” From his rough-hewn appearance to his burner phone (which, in modern times, simply means not having an iPhone), he loathed the notion of being “on the radar.” While this irked Laurent in many ways, she was silently praising his anti-establishment nature as she walked (radiating a sketchy air) through Buttes-Chaumont with Honoré, knowing she could leave him somewhere secluded enough and that no chip inside of his body would be able to link him to her if and when he was taken to some animal shelter or vet.
She hiked for what felt like eons but was, in reality, only about an hour, searching for the perfect spot where no one would see her abandon the creature who had committed no crime other than exhibiting fealty. It was as though Laurent, as a woman, wanted Honoré to instead display the same qualities she was drawn to in a man: blasé, barely paying her any attention at all. Honoré, as a beacon of constancy and openness with his affection, could never act in such a way. And now he was being punished. Treated in the manner that someone like Benoît or Laurent herself ought to be. Doing no wrong other than being pure of spirit. Which is a quality the impure always detest, for it reminds them of what they are not.
Checking around her several times to ensure no one else was in the area, Laurent tethered Honoré’s leash to the trunk of a tree that was thin enough to give him “some room” to pull on his own neck as he inevitably tried to escape, to run after her. She knew that, even for her, it would be too difficult to watch this happen. Once she let go of the leash, she would run and not look back, lest she change her mind at the sight of his pathetic pleas that she, as cold-hearted as she had become, would not be immune to.
So she ran, covering her ears so she couldn’t hear his urgent and incessant yelps for her to come back, asking her how she could do this to him after all the love he had given her. Was it not enough? Had he done something wrong? Dogs deserve dignity, too. And he demanded a reason for this abandonment. He never got it, of course, for about a week into Laurent’s Roquebrune-Cap-Martin sojourn, Honoré expired, discovered too late by a pack of youths who had come to the area to try their latest supply of acid.
At the sight of Honoré, all one of the boys could do was kick him a bit to ensure he was dead. He was. Just as all pure love left on this earth, even in France.