If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, then it was meant to be. If it doesn’t . . . . But what if that something is a moment in time? Or an opportunity? Or a careless word?
My mind was still hazy as I swayed over the toilet, emptying an unusually full bladder. Ok, so it’s not unusual for me. Besides my throbbing headache, I didn’t have much to remind me of what happened last night. How many nights have I lost to that beast? How many girlfriends? Jobs? Friends?
I didn’t even remember waking up. Did the alarm go off?
Stumbled through the morning routine. Shit. Shower. Shave. Bleed. Brush. Bleed. Dress. Inspect the bare cupboard. Cuss. Drive to Mickey D’s.
I finally stumbled into work. Funny looks, side glances. Occasional gasps. Then I noticed the nametag on my door. NOT my name. NOT my door. How could I forget? That question was quickly replaced by, “how do I get out of here without being seen?”
The return home was uneventful. For me, at least. Not for the pedestrians. Or the other drivers. But I made it home without adding to the dents in my car. Or the points on my license. And by the time I got home, the sun was out, the sidewalk was thawing, and the stench of my dog began wafting gently into the garage from her curbside plastic grave.
The crucifix hung slightly askew above the kitchen sink where Mom placed it.
Then it all hit me. A sledgehammer to the shins would have been merciful.
Crumpled. Grasping the sink. Gut wrenched.
Catholic Guilt filled loathing packs a deadly punch. No, just debilitating. I wish it were deadly.
And then it dawned on me. Something I can finally finish.
I marched into the garage armed with a sense of purpose. Grabbed the gas can, shaking to hear a light sloshing. Good!
Marched out to the backyard fire pit. Set down the gas can, stacked the firewood. Marched back to the curb.
If I can’t dig a decent hole in the frozen ground, I can at least burn her. It’s better than waiting for the garbage truck to come by.
I brushed aside the flies (who knew they lived in the winter?) and grabbed the neck of the Hefty. She was heavy! I thought she froze to the bottom of the bin, but after leveraging my legs against the curb, I finally lifted her free.
Hefted her over my shoulder. It didn’t seem right. So I gently swung the bag around, cradling the still-wrapped form of my faithful mutt.
My imagination got me, ’cause I swear a heard a whimper. I paused in my tracks. Nothing. So I continued. Then swooned when I felt a little kick.
You know that sensation when a baby kicks inside the womb? Not just the bump of the heel, but the jump of your heart? Ditto.
And then I lost my grip (on the bag, and on reality) when the wriggling started in earnest.
A sharp yip of pain as the bag hit the pavement.
Then the bag opened, and I swear Rudy bounded out of the bag, none worse for the wear. Except for blood-matted fur. And the obscene tire tread marks.
Leaping into my arms, she lapped at my face, tail wagging ferociously. I couldn’t stop the sobs or slow the tears. So this is redemption!
My mind quickly took me to the deep recesses beyond the backyard. A slight mound in a small wooded copse. My heart skipped.