The Bridges of Madison County: Men's best friend | Teen Ink

The Bridges of Madison County: Men's best friend

May 17, 2011
By Annaki BRONZE, Arnhem, Other
Annaki BRONZE, Arnhem, Other
1 article 2 photos 4 comments

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The Bridges of Madison County: Men's best friend

The bridges of Madison county is the story of Francesca. When her husband is at a fair she meets Robert Kincaid, a photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He has to do an article about the covered bridges of the area. They fall for each other and they have a passionate affair, which lasts for four days. When her husband is about to return, Robert has to leave. He asks her to come with him, but she can’t, feeling she would betray her family if she did. It’s a decision she regrets the rest of her life. She still thinks about Robert every day. Every year she “celebrates” the four days they spent together. One day a package arrives. It contains a letter and Robert’s cameras. He has died and leaves his belongings to her. Only a few years later Francesca dies. Their ashes get scattered at the same place. This is my version of the story, written from the perspective of Francesca’s dog Jack.

This morning I woke up completely satisfied. When I headed back from my morning patrol- everything was okay, except for an unfamiliar smell. Have to remember to check that out- Mistress had already woken as well. I could hear her moving around. The smell of Merrick dog biscuits slowly pleased my nostrils. The last end I ran; I was quite hungry.
After my breakfast I wanted to show the Mistress my affection and thank her for the food, but when I licked her hand, she only stared at me with grieving sad eyes. I’ve thought about this over and over, but I never found the true reason of her sadness. She had had a good night sleep, there was a bowl of Kellog O’s in front of her and she had recently been to the room where human beings apparently mark their territory. What could possibly be wrong?
So again, I tried to comfort her; this time by gently pushing my nose against her bare knees. It didn’t seem to cheer her up. She just sighted, rose and locked me out of the house. “No Jack”, that’s the only thing she said.

First I was really frustrated about this, but being outside again, it suddenly came to me that I had forgotten to mark the mailbox this morning. I hurried to get there, forcing myself to ignore the stabbing pain in my right paw- you see, a van hit me once and I never fully recovered.
Luckily I got there in time. I couldn’t find the slightest trace of Buster’s scent, which meant that annoying bugger from next door hadn’t had a chance to get out this morning. I was grinning while I wet the place. In my head I could see Buster’s face when he would notice I’d already been there. Haha, f*ck you Buster! Not this time! Someone should really teach those youngsters hot to behave.

When I wanted to return to the house, I suddenly noticed the remarkable smell again. And it was definitely coming from the mailbox. I tried to jump and open it, but I failed , so I just sat and waited. After a while the door opened. The Mistress stepped out and cried: “Jack? Jackie-boy? Where are ya?” She was holding a cookie and a leach. Instead of heading toward her, I stayed where I was. This was actually a hard thing to do, for the cookie looked mouthwatering. I barked. She looked at me puzzled. Then she walked to me, very slowly. I was so excited! I circled around the mailbox a hundred times before she got there. “Hey, What’s wrong boy? Why are you making such a fuss?” I barked again. Why was she just talking?! Open the mailbox! Jeez, couldn’t she smell that?
I sat down, waiting patiently for her to understand, in the meantime trying to figure out what was so weird about the smell. “I’m giving up Jack. I don’t get you. I’m going back, okay? Are you coming?” Again the talking. The only thing I understood was that she wanted me to follow her (due to the word “coming” and my name “Jack”). I sighed; I probably just had to wait until noon or even later to find out about the scent.
But at the moment I gave up and stood up go after her, Mistress opened the mailbox. The strange odor got a thousand times stronger, almost painfully stinging inside of my nose. I couldn’t hide my enthusiasm. She took a letter and a couple of boxes out of the mailbox and started walking back to the house, without paying any attention to me. I quickly followed her, so I wouldn’t be locked out again. Back inside, she just put the boxes on the table, took a seat and stared at the ground with that empty look again. Humans are such weird creatures!
I went to the living room and lay down on my pillow. I think I actually fell asleep for a few minutes while I was trying to solve the mailboxmystery. I had a familiar dream about chasing a big, green pick-up….

As I heard Mistress gasp, I got in my feet and raced to the kitchen as fast as I could. Stumbling I got there and I started to oversee the situation, looking for danger. Nothing seemed terribly wrong.
There was no fire or something like a rat or a cat. Mistress was still seated in the same chair, still staring. The only thing that had changed was the mail. The letter was opened and two of the boxes had no lid on them anymore.
On the table lay a weird machine. I’ve seen them before. Some sort of black box with a round piece of glass in front of it. At once I stiffened as an image appeared in front of my eyes so clearly that it could have been real. I remembered again; The machine, the weird smell, the green van, him…..
I never forget a face, ever. Even as old as I am now, I still remember my mother’s face the day they took me away from her.
Now the wolf-like features of the guy were dancing in front of my eyes. The long grayish hair, the sneaky eyes, big muscles. I didn’t trust him from the very second I met him. If it hadn’t been for the Mistress who told me to “stay down” I would have bitten him in the ankles. How much I would have loved to do that! The memory almost made me moan.
Everything was clear now. So this was mail from him; that weird, creepy man, who only came when Master was gone.
Back then he was a real mystery, which I had to solve. I tried to investigate the stranger, but Mistress got in my way several times when she forgot to let me in. After a few days I knew only very little, while new, worrying things happened every time he was there. For instance; one of the first days he was around, he went upstairs and stood under the high machine that makes rain. When he came down, he smelled just like Master. I couldn’t believe my nose. The confusion gave me a headache so I laid down under the table and covered my nose with my paws.
That night Mistress forgot to give me my food. She was too busy making something to eat for him, who apparently had taken my place.
I growled when all human light suddenly appeared. I jumped up, hitting my head to the table. I could see the guy moving around in the dark and I figured that maybe I had an excuse to bite him now. But it didn’t took long enough for some lights to illuminate the room again. The man touched a box that started producing weird sounds at his command. He grabbed Mistress around her waist, holding her tight. I growled, but again she seemed happy and calm, so after a few minutes of observation, I left.

I still don’t understand what happened back then. Luckily Mistress stayed unharmed during his visits. He didn’t bite her, or scratch her, but I still found myself looking out for her every day. One evening I seriously thought he was killing her:
Strange noises were coming from upstairs. I was worried, but I couldn’t go up to check it out, for someone had put a chair in front of the staircase. The first night I was sick with worry. The next morning Mistress just came down, a little late, but alive and well. She even seemed to be healthier and happier than before.
After some time his visits stopped. He went away and Master returned. Everything turned back to normal and I’ve never seen him again. Mistress has never been the same though.

As I’m lying here now, my breath unsteady and short, I can only regret I’ve never had any children, to whom I can past all my knowledge about the human beings. One day we will understand them! I roll to my side and start coughing. How I wish I could have them around to support me now. My own flesh and blood. To know for sure that Mistress would be protected always.
I’ve seen my death approaching, so last week I sneaked out and went next door. I’ve told Buster everything I know. I even gave him my red toy, which smells like beef. In the end I’m going to miss him after all.
I’m actually grinning now. Slowly a woozy feeling spreads through my body. My head feels fluffy. I close my eyes and sigh…..

As Francesca walks into the room she notices there’s something wrong right away. She quietly looks at Jack, who lies peacefully in his basket. A tear drops on the floor. He was her best friend, her last living memory to……. She starts sobbing. “Oh Jack… O, sweet, sweet Jack…… O Robert.”

The author's comments:
This was actually a school assignment we did. We read the book "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller. We got an assignment to rewrite the end. I rewrote the whole story from the perspective of Francesca's dog Jack. A small summary is included for people who haven't read the book.

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