Inspired by Brooke Lowry
I wish I could tell you all about the day Stacey brought him to see me at the hospital. I wish I could tell you the sliding door swooshed open and there he was, tail wagging and jumping on me and telling me how much he missed me. I wish I could you tell that.
But I don’t remember that day. I don’t remember if the sun was shining or if it rained. I don’t remember if Mom or Dad or Dave or Liz or Maureen were there. I don’t remember if it was for an hour or a minute.
If you’re talking in terms of what you see and hear, what you smell and taste. I don’t remember that at all.
But I remember how he felt. I remember touching him. I remember him licking my face as though he hadn’t seen me in years. And I suppose, in dog-time, he hadn’t. I remember coming home. He trotted out from his spot under the table and repeated the sweet reunion. I remember waking up and him wedged between the bed and the wall. He looked up with the slightest smile. He followed me into my office. He followed me into the kitchen and he followed me back and he would sit at my feet and sigh the deepest sigh. I remember trying to type a journal and getting so frustrated with my new blindness, I would slump in my chair and cry. And I would turn around and he’d be laying there on the sofa with his head on his paws. Watching me.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to get it now. You don’t have to get it ever. I’m so happy you are home.”
When I felt like moving a little, I would leash him up and we’d walk through the neighborhood . In the sunshine. In the glorious, stifling Nebraska summer heat. Glorious because I was with him. And even though leashed and secure, he still looked up every now and then. To make sure I was still with him. Around the neighborhood, past St. Pius X school and the kids at recess playing jump rope and four-square. Past the little houses with old-timers mowing the yard or washing their car. Through the little park where I’d let him off the leash and he would pause, look at me carefully, then trot off to sniff this or pee on that. Then he would come right back and we’d finish the walk together.
Back inside in the sweet embrace of air conditioning, I’d give him a piece of cheese or part of a hot dog. And he would take it gingerly from my hands as he always did and scarf it down like the animal he was. And he would never take his eyes off me. I’d walk back to the bedroom and collapse like a deflated balloon on the bed and take a three-hour nap. I’d awaken when she returned from work, blurry eyed and still exhausted. And he would be in his nook, looking up at me.
Making sure I didn’t leave him again.