She looks at the dog and is immediately comforted. They had told her at the shelter that the dog was gentle and loving, one of the best they had available for adoption. Sarah had been sold from the moment the cinnamon-tinted canine walked up, wagged her tail, and licked her hand. Love at first sight, and yet as she rubs the dog’s soft fur, she feels the tears starting in her eyes.
Her friends had begged her to return the dog. “You got a Rottweiler?” her BFF Candace had asked as she ever-so-slightly began to look around for the door to leave the house in case the dog made a sudden move toward her. “Why in God’s name would you get a killer dog, Sarah? What were you thinking?”
What am I ever thinking, she wonders as she strokes the dog’s velveteen ears and lets the tears flow.
She’s a good owner. All in all, I consider this to be a good forever home. OK, so sometimes she cries for no reason, but that’s just what humans do. They get all emotional and seem to have a need to cry. It’s not the worst thing in the world.
Sarah is a nice person, constantly talking to me, feeding me twice a day: morning and evening. She’s generous with the treats and even lets me share the bed. I can’t complain, but I wish I understood why there’s so much sadness inside of her.
Sarah’s Late Evening Reflection:
Maybe that last glass of wine was a bit too much, she thinks as she collapses on the sofa. The dog is right there too, hopping up and resting at her feet. This was a good idea, she realizes. Dogs are such wonderful creatures, and after all she endured with Roger–the verbal arrows, the lies, the physical violence that finally made her realize she had to get away from him–it’s nice to have someone to trust again. A dog will never let you down, her father always said, and he was so very right.
For a moment she understands that her life is quite a good one. She has a great job with a major accounting firm, a lovely house she bought with the money her aunt left her, several wonderful friends, good health, and now a pet. All the rest will fall into place in time, she assures herself. There’s no rush. Time is her friend.
The dog looks at her with warmth and it makes her more optimistic than she’s been in months.
Why does life seem so complicated for humans? At the shelter, I saw so many potential adopters with sad eyes and the pain of a wounded past etched upon their faces and hearts. Seems to be a waste of a life if it’s spent enduring hurt, merely surviving, failing to celebrate every moment of the goodness that’s been laid before us all. Why stay locked in a state of self-torture when there’s so much to love to receive, so much love to give, to be shared?
I will never fully know what it means to be human, and that doesn’t bother me in the least. It doesn’t leave me feeling unfulfilled. Life is for living.
Sarah’s Tuesday Evening Call:
When she sees the number on caller ID, she knows it’s Roger. No need to answer, she tells herself. Let the bastard leave a voice mail and she can erase it later. But almost by rote, guided by some deeper reflex, she answers on the fourth ring and hears him say for the fifty millionth time that he’s sorry.
He’s been drinking. She can tell by how he slurs some of the syllables in his apology. She hardens her thoughts, steels her heart, tells him it’s far too late for it all. What has been done cannot be undone, and then he gets angry, accuses her of being a heartless bitch, a pricktease, a hateful shrew.
She hangs up.
More tears from Sarah. These are deep, soul-wounded sobs that shake her body. I nuzzle closer to her and lick her face. This makes her smile. She hugs me close and tells me she loves me. Yes! Love! Love is what the world is meant to be. Not the bad, not the dark. It may be raining outside, but there is always sunshine inside where we live in our hearts.
I feel Sarah’s heart beating against me and understand that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. This was all destiny.
Ginger Hears All:
Because he’s called only hours before, I know the sound emanating from the front door must be Roger. As I hop off the bed and ease down the hallway toward the living area, I can hear him breathing. When I draw closer, I can smell the alcohol on his breath. It stinks, and he has a sweat of fear and anger coating his skin.
I peer around the corner and into the room where he stands. He looks around in the darkness, clutching a thick piece of bent metal in his hands. When he trips on the ottoman and tumbles to the ground, I know the time is right.
I pounce, my teeth penetrating the softness of his neck.
His blood is like poison, and his cries make me feel dead inside. Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t there be more love?
Sarah begins to laugh as she takes me by the collar and leads me away from Roger’s still-twitching body.
Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.