To The New Dog, With Love
She lay on the couch, exhausted and emotionally spent. She let her arm dangle off the edge, corpse-like. Her hand opened, subconsciously expecting to come up against warm fur. But he wasn’t there. Same couch, his same spot, the same comforting action she’d performed thousands of times. He was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.
His successor was there, across the room, busy with her own trauma. She, too, remembered too much. They weren’t aligned, this woman and this wonderful new dog. They weren’t attached at the heart. But perhaps they weren’t that different after all. They both cried in the night. They both lived in the past. They were both haunted by ghosts that robbed them of part of their souls.
She roused herself, said, “time for potty,” and clicked on the leash. They went out the door into the night together, side by side. She patted the new dog’s head. “I love you, you know?” The dog stuck her nose into the air, sniffed the night, perked her ears at the frog song. Peed. They turned and went back in, closing the door behind.