Coming Home

The driveway was silent. My sister running into the darkened empty house and I stood outside looking at the Christmas decorations in sunlight. A breeze. I walked over the warm brown grass to a fallen large and plastic teddy bear. I stood him on the sidewalk. Presented for the best viewing and stood back again. Over against a bush another decoration had fallen over. I tilted it up and dug it into the rocks. It fell once. Then twice.

There was no one in the neighborhood but me.

It stood up on its own when Sandy got out. Sandy is my dog. She was excited and whimpering when she saw me. She ran to me as if she couldn't run any faster. Her legs jumping, bowing, growling with excitment. I tried to pet her but it just wasn't good enough.

When I came home usually, I'd be annoyed and over it. She's hyper. But her face was solid white. More so, then I remember from six months ago. Her partner was dead. Sam wasn't around to play with her.

I walked in my home and noticed a large and ominous fish tank where my piano used to be. My mom ended her second marriage while I was away. He took my piano.

The house was dark, unused but filled with stuff. The Christmas tree fully decorated with presents lining the floors. There are names on them, I'm not sure of.

My Mom's new family.

Through the living room, Sandy still whimpering at my feet, both of us searching for something for her to fetch, we made it to the back porch. The same. A pool, running. Cycling water. Filtering.

Sandy brings me something familiar. Her orange football. She fucking loves her football. I take it from her to bring it out front. She grunts and groans, wanting to chase it so Goddamn bad. She's almost tripping it - not wanting to miss a moment.

Out front again, I toss the ball - and she runs for it so fucking fast. Sam used to be lazy. He'd chase after the ball about two or three steps and turn around. Panting. He meant well, but he always had trouble moving. His legs were always hurting.

Sandy doesn't bring the ball back as fast as she did before. There's still no one in the neighborhood. Quiet. Silence as I toss the ball for Sandy. Her own world wrapped in play. And attention. And love.

Dogs are so amazing.

I tease her. I almost throw the ball - she's so eager she falls for it. And then turns her head, waiting for the real toss. I do it. Unable to watch her painful eyes bearing down at me. Give me the Goddamn ball.

I tease her again.

I hold it still in the air. She waits. Still. Frozen. A breeze. Silence. Nothing but us. And the Christmas decorations. And the lazy, warming sun.

It's nice.