Wait for Me, Day 8

This entry is part 8 of 23 in the series Playing "Wait for Me"

This is an entry in a journaling game I’m currently playing. An explanation, and my first entry, is here. Oh, and these posts are organized into a series now. You can see the post series page here. 

I’m a little behind, having missed a couple of days along the way, but it’s no big deal. I actually like having a little extra time to consider the prompts.  

… and then I snap back into time, baffled. Where am I? What is this place?

It’s our dog, Toto, running up to me. She’s off her leash again, it’s one of those days. Where are we, why haven’t we found her yet I worry for a second that she won’t recognize me, this much older, but she does, somehow, incredibly. 

Is this the back field, that enormous empty space behind the houses opposite ours? But… isn’t this where…? No, this isn’t that day, there’s no rainwater, and her paws aren’t raw from running all night on concrete after running away in thunder-struck panic. No, this is one of those other days she she got off the chain, and disappeared for a while. 

She wants to play, and we do, for hours. I bring her home—nobody’s there, I don’t know why, but I know where the spare key is, and I go into the fridge and find the thing she always loved to fetch for us, an orange, so we play some more. At the end of the day, I make my way downstairs and into my old room—that same wood-paneled room I was it not long ago. I find a photo of her, stick it in the journal, and write:


Why does she love fetching oranges so much? Remember that day when we just threw orange after orange down the hall, slobbery smashed oranges, and she never got tired of it? Just wanted it again and again? How Mum flipped out, orange bits everywhere… crazy old dog. Hey, don’t blame—  

The flickering of memories comes faster, this time, and so forceful that they hit before I even write the last word of the sentence: I did see this. Something clicked in my brain when I did, I guess, because from then on, I made sure to hug her a little more every day, at least for a for a while. Changed that chain in the yard, and she never did end up spending three days in the back field after a thunderstorm. I got busy eventually, but… even so, once in a while I  made a little more time to play with her than I would have, got her another bone to play with sooner, and threw one of those disgusting, slobber-covered, broken oranges a few more times than I might’ve before. 

“Dad,” I whisper to myself, my hand empty, the journal gone, as I remember the day he picked me up from school and told me he’d had her put down, that she’d been sick and in pain. How he didn’t say he’d worried we wouldn’t let him do it, that she’d be in more pain if her let him stop us. The look on his face, when I said, “You didn’t let me say goodbye!” and then the memory dislodges, dissolves away and he’s smiling as I say, “Thanks for letting me say goodbye to her.”

And then, like a petal on a branch, I’m dislodged from time and drift rapidly to sometime else. 

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