There is a street we walk on just to see the dog on the roof. It doesn’t seem so strange now because we’ve seen it so many times. We use “dog on the roof” as a location marker as we decide whether to take a left or keep going straight at the junction.
He is there today sitting on the warm clay tiles. I lift Kojo up so he can see his distant gaze. His head looks as if it is floating in space. A few people pass us by as we stand looking. No one seems to find his presence as magical as we do. The rest of his body is hidden behind the slope of the roof’s surface. He sits remarkably still although he recognizes our attention.
There are many stray dogs in the neighborhood. Kojo doesn’t yet recognize the difference between those that are loved and those that are lost. From where we stand, we don’t notice the fear or despair in the dog-on-the-roof’s eyes that we see in the others we meet.
I wonder if the occupants below notice the footsteps every evening as he somehow gets onto the roof and finds his sunken spot. He rests there without sliding down with nothing but the birds to watch out for. From there, the evening activity in the neighborhood is his to enjoy. The smells that reach his canine nest must deliver many fresh stories each night.
We look again in his direction to let him know somehow we understand. We don’t want to give his secret spot away so we nonchalantly look at the many dog-less roofs around us and continue on with our walk.