The Tanjima pace had been deserted for half a century and it was now a museum. No one really knew why the palace had been evacuated one, out of the blue. The point was that people never returned and decided to settle in other areas, leaving the palace to decay rapidly. It was only recently, some five years ago, that a local businessman had decided to acquire the land and remodel the palace in order to exploit it commercially, as tourism was becoming more and more important in the region. His goal was been fulfilled, as it became one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country in only a few years.
Nathan and George were a couple that had just arrived from Japan and had decided to visit the palace. It was the beginning of winter, so the level of tourists in the place was not that high. They paid the entrance, grabbed a map and started walking. The palace was enormous and it also encompassed several land used as gardens and as farmland, so people could see how the rice and vegetables were grown for the inhabitants of the palace when it was occupied. It generated the first fight between the couple: Nathan wanted to go to the farmland, as they had a place where you could touch cows and horses. But George wanted to go to the gardens and see which flowers hadn’t yet died due to the winter.
Of the two, Nathan was the more positive and upbeat one. He was always willing to help people and loved to sing pretty often. George, on the other hand, was cranky all the time except when he was in a romantic mood. The only way to calm him down when he was pissed about something was for Nathan to kiss him softly. Many people thought they were not the best match ever but they did get along well. The thing was that they always had these silly arguments that always took their time.
Trying to decide what to do, they came to a crossroads: one-way the gardens, the other way to the stables. They looked at the map to know what was best but then something ran past their feet. When they looked for what that had been, they realized it was a dog. It was small and very hairy. It was one of those little dogs that need their facial hair to be cut regularly in order for them to see where they were going. But apparently he didn’t have any problem. He just sat there and stared.
Nathan kneeled that and stroked the dog’s head. He didn’t do any noise, so Nathan proceeded to pat his back and stroke his ears too. And the dog just stayed there, moving his tail slowly. When Nathan was finished, the dog stared at George but George didn’t really like dogs. He thought they were always full of ticks and dirt and he just didn’t like pets all that much. That’s why they didn’t have any at home and Nathan had decided not to fight for one.
The dog, realizing George wasn’t going make a move, come closer and then bit George hard in the sheen. It was very fast because when they started screaming and looking at the leg, the dog had already left. George was so angry he decided to run after the dog, even when Nathan told him that there was nothing wrong: the dog had not even left his teeth mark on the leg. But nothing could stop George when he was that angry so Nathan followed him.
They ran downhill, towards the crops. George saw the dog going that way and ran after him because he wanted to grab him and file a complaint. He was like that, always thinking he was making a better world by complaining about everything. Nathan had learned how to handle it, often not even acknowledging his boyfriend, but sometimes it was difficult. For example, this dog thing reaction was disproportionate, especially when George, unaware the land around the crops was flooded, decided to run across them to get the dog, that had sat down on the other side, waiting.
The result was George getting wet up to his knees with water and a security guard coming and telling them they could be fined for disturbing the crops. Nathan spoke with her and explained that George had just made a mistake and that he didn’t meant anything by it. She decided to let them go, seeing he had just ruined his pants but not any of the plants, and told them to stay away of the area. So Nathan had to push George away and the dog followed them until they were just in front of the stables.
There, they quarreled for a while. George said that Nathan never really defended him when he was right but Nathan said he wasn’t even right in the first place. He was just being all crazy because a dog had bitten him softly on the leg. George declared that was an example of how his boyfriend always tried to make things that happened to him smaller, as if they weren’t really that important.
They were raising their voices so much that the tourists going into the stables looked at them and some even took pictures. It was only when the dog barked and ran inside, that the two men decided to stop talking and enter the place.
It smelled like a proper farm and it had room for seven cows on one side and seven on the other. That was half the building. The other half was occupied by the horse area, were George ran to just after entering because he had seen the damned dog going that way. Nathan, not wanting to participate anymore, decided to caress some of the cows and take pictures with his cellphone. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his boyfriend; it was that he was very high maintenance and that was tiring.
After fifteen minutes or so, Nathan went to the horse area and took some pictures in there too. He didn’t realize George was standing on the doorway, until he was closer. He asked him what he was doing and George responded that he was looking for the dog. Bored with that silly chase, Nathan decided to take picture of the horses, which were enormous. Then, a chilly gust of wind entered the building and he saw George just stay there and then walk like a zombie. He had to go after him.
He caught up with him not very far, en route to the garden area. Then, out of the blue, the dog appeared and barked and George became crazy and launched himself at him. There was no way to stop him from behaving like that because the dog was doing exactly what drove him crazy: tainting home and making him fall and trip and follow running. The dog, Nathan thought, was smarter than any of the humans in the palace.
He didn’t really run after George, just trying no to lose him. But then found himself with his boyfriend that had ran out of breath in front of a beautiful field of roses. He touched Geroge’s back and that made him raise his head to watch the beauty that unfolded in front of them: rectangular gardening area were roses of every single color had been planted. And they really were in every single color: red, blue, yellow, pink, brown, black…
The couple got closer to look at them and realized there was a sign that said: “Please feel free to take any rose you want. You may only take 1 and it has to symbolize something to you”.
They tried to decide and right then the dog appeared on one side of the rose field and had a red rose in its mouth. He got to Nathan and pushed him gently in order for him to grab the rose, which Nathan did. According to another sign, red meant passion and love. So he gave that flower to George without even thinking about it because he had just realized how much he loved him. He didn’t cared about having to run after him or stand by as he fought his battles. He could do that and more because he loved him.
George’s eyes were watery but then he remembered he had to take a rose for Nathan. He looked at the dog and asked him which one he should get and the dog barked and both guys laughed. He went for the blue one, which was meant to symbolize all feeling that can live through time, like trust. And he trusted his life and his love to Nathan so he gave him that one.
The dog disappeared as the two men kissed softly and embraces each other, running through the bushes to find another couple that maybe had come to the palace in need of some advice, without even knowing.