he and i sat quietly inside the little jeep as it edged into the drive. rocks crunched slowly beneath tires. my empty house waited. the last golden drops of sunlight hung on naked tree branches, and in the looming darkness, i thought i’d see you.
i thought i’d see you running toward me through the grassy field, eyes wild and fur rippling, with your smiling buddy chasing at your heels. i thought i’d see you leaping across oceans of grass blades in single bounds, your enthusiasm to run surpassed only by your enthusiasm to see me.
i remembered the two old sick trees my parents cut down and saw their sad stumps next to piles of branches and trunks. i avoided looking at the low mound of dirt beside the trees -
i knew you wouldn’t be there, but i forced myself to watch for you to prove it to myself. i had to watch. i knew you couldn’t be there, but it felt like you had to be. you had always been there, each forty pounds of fur and joy and enthusiasm, running to cover me with jumps and kisses. you had always been there, and i knew you had to be here now. i avoided looking at the low mound of dirt beside the trees -
i couldn’t blink, because what if my chance to see you came in a single moment, and i missed it? what if it was my only chance? i couldn’t blink. i couldn’t blink. i knew you couldn’t be there…but what if you might be?
the air was quiet and heavy with the weight of my expectations and i felt like this was the moment. now, i would see you running happy in the shadows. i knew you couldn’t be there, but i expected to see you still. i couldn’t blink. we were rolling slowly up the drive, but i didn’t see you and i knew the time was running out -
i avoided looking at the low mound of dirt beside the trees.
i avoided looking at the low mound of dirt beside the trees, but i knew it was there.
the jeep stopped. he said, i half expected to see them running. i said, i thought i’d see them too.
when we walked over and sat at the mound of dirt beside the trees, i swear i felt you with me. i almost saw you running. i wished i saw you running. but i swear i felt you. i pictured your bodies lying together beneath the mound, and wondered how far your molecules had spread into the earth. but when my brain started wondering if you still had fur, and started picturing skeletons with shriveling skin and sunken eyeballs, i had to stop.
i knew you were there, together. i felt you. i heard the birds, i felt the breeze, i saw the night. my ghost dogs ran with forty pounds of fur and joy and enthusiasm, and i went inside.