We live in a 2 story house built in 1913…we are coming up on our 100. So 2 stories…that’s 9 steps up…landing 90 degrees left…7 steps up…second floor. I know…I learned to count them so I wouldn’t stumble when I went to bed after my wife did as I climbed the stairs in the dark so as not the wake her up…see I’m semiretired and my wife has to go to the college every day to bring in the bacon…well the vegetables…see she doesn’t eat bacon so therefore neither do I. So my job is to take care of the house and her dogs. Only today it became the worst chore I ever had to do.
After the park and chase the red ball and clean up the poo I dropped them off… Zoey, Pokey and our daughters dog Mable…yeah grandpa is doggie sitting…and off to work at the investments. Back home at 3:00 and let the dogs out to do their dooty…only Zoey didn’t show and I figured that she was just napping up in the bed as she sometimes did on a hot day. The bed is sooooo much more comfortable than the couch or the kitchen floor…but maybe the bathroom floor as its cooler.
The little dogs finished and I headed up the stairs…9 steps up…landing, 90 degrees left…seven steps up…second floor. No Zoey on the bed, so she must be on the cool bathroom floor…She was and she had gone in her sleep. I knew this and I still tried to wake her…my heart hurt for my loss, but more for my wife’s. This was going to be the most difficult thing I’d have to tell her in my life.
Details over glossed, I remembered the time we had gone to the coast and went hiking in the dunes. Zoey’s big paws pushed the sand for miles and she played and chased our other dog, squires and whatever other imaginary playmate she conjured up in her doggy mind. A quarter mile from camp she decided her feet had enough and lay down and refused to move. Her eyes pleaded “Carry me.” So I lifted her 100 pound body and carried it the entire way back to camp with her tongue occasionally lapping my face with the gift of gratitude.
Now it was 7 steps down…90 degrees to the right…9 steps down…out the front door…5 steps off the porch and too many steps to the place her in the car for the last car ride…she never felt so heavy and the walk was never so long.
“I didn’t kiss her this morning and tell her she smelled like a hamster.” And so many tears…how can I console my wife…I can’t.
I know this void will never be filled and I can only hope that we have learned to never leave without an “I love you” rolling off our lips.
I can only hope that no day will she ever experience the regret of not kissing me in the morning and telling me that I “smell like a hamster.”