My mom always keeps the lights on, but she hadn’t been home to flip the switch. The darkness wrapped my heart, oscillating unsettlingly between heavy and empty. No doggie in the window.
He died two weeks ago. I chummed that day; the salt spray stung my eyes and my throat burned as breakfast, then dinner, then lunch blazed through in the wake of acid. The pain felt good, clean, wiping away the bitterness of unshed tears.
I can’t make his life better; I can’t hold him and let him do what dogs do best; I can’t open the door for him when he wants to sleep next to me, or throw the ball for him, or feel his heartbeat with my toes. But I can still love him. I can smile when I think of his Quasimodo face. I can forgive like he did. I can thrill in the wind ruffling my hair and savor the smells of the early morning and twilight. I can sleep, I can run, I can do what I want when I want to do it. I can be a good friend. I can love with all my heart. And every time I eat an apple, I’ll smile a little more than I did before.
I love you Duke.