Fortunately, to cheer her up, Hugo came to mind, and with a squeal she runs to the car, calls me to join her, and we’re off to get Hugo, who was getting a check-up at the local kennel. One could never tell by looking at him whether or not these sudden reunions pleased him. His face would mask every emotion; like a great actor he kept you guessing. At times—I had seen this reunion often—he would almost smile, but a stiff upper lip got in the way, leaving Hugo with nothing, absolutely nothing.
Hugo loves Marilyn, and she adores him. Beauty and the Beast—Hugo bore out this maxim perfectly. At the kennel, released, he stares at her for a moment, hesitates, comes forward, notices me and takes two steps backwards, stumbles, forward again, almost falls, takes a deep breath, and runs into her arms. She embraces him. “Hugo, how are you? You’re beautiful!” (The dog is ugly.) “Good dog, pretty dog, why don’t you smile? You’re depressed, aren’t you?” (He was born depressed. My God, I think, Miller and DiMaggio often have that same look!) “Come, we’re going home, you’ll run around and see Arturo and have fun.” Hugo nods grimly and enters the car, shrinking from my touch. She talks to him all the way home, and though he doesn’t answer, I’m sure he completely understands.
- Norman Rosten, poet & friend