If you missed where this story started just click here to read it or simply click on the Story-Time Tuesday link at the top of my blog to take you to previous chapters.
Writing Fiction - Chapter 16
Here's where Chapter 15 left you.
Before he could protest, I quickly hung up.
I wondered why I’d said an hour. Why hadn’t I said I was out of town and I’d be back in five months and that I’d bring Edgar/Spot over then? Why hadn’t I told him I’d meet him tomorrow?
Darn. Darn, darn, darn!
I tried dialing the number back, but there was no answer.
I wondered if it would it be wrong to just not show up at the park? What if I just kept the dog? The guy sounded horrible after all. I wasted about five minutes trying to convince myself that doing the wrong thing would be the right thing, just this once.
In the end, I went upstairs and took a shower. I tried sausaging myself into my jeans, resignedly admitted defeat by finally pulling on sweat pants instead. I blow dried my hair. I put some make-up on. I dawdled. I poked around. I changed my sweat pants to a pair with a stripe down the side that were more slimming. I fixed my make-up. I wanted to look as put together as possible so I could convince the nasty guy to let me keep Edgar/Spot.
Finally, when I was a good fifteen minutes late, I grabbed the dog leash, poo bag and went to my car. I opened the door and called, “Edgar, Edgar!” and he came running from the side yard and jumped in. My hopes grew for a brief moment and then I realized he’d only coming running because he liked riding in the car.
It took about 5 minutes to drive to the little park and by then I was nearly twenty minutes late. Perfect timing, it seemed, because the park was empty.
AND, NOW, THE STORY CONTINUES...
I sat in the car for a few minutes, thinking how gray and dismal the day was. It seemed a little too chilly to take Edgar/Spot outside. After a few minutes, though, he started whining and I was pretty sure he wanted to do his business, so I snapped on his leash and we walked around a little bit.
We hung out for at least ten minutes when I decided that, obviously, Mr. Grump was full of dog poo and wasn’t going to show. In hindsight, and to be truthful, it was probably closer to two minutes, but it was cold, we were hungry and tired and we both really, really wanted to go home.
I had just opened the car door to let Edgar in, (no more of that “Spot” business I decided) and was leaning over him to unsnap his leash, when I heard a single shout from across the park. I turned to look, and standing beside the open passenger door of a silver SUV was a man. I felt the leash slip through my fingers as Edgar leaped from the car and streaked toward the man at the word, “Spot!” His little body was a blur against the dreary winter backdrop and he never looked back, even once. The man closed the door, walked around the front of the car, and drove away.
Just like that.
No wave. No honk. No thank you. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
I stood there totally stunned. My hand was still on the passenger door and Edgar was gone.
Gone. Absolutely gone. Like he’d never been in my life at all. The only proof he’d been there a moment before were some dog hair on the sleeve of my jacket and an unused poo bag stuffed in my pocket.
I’m not sure how long I stood there. I was certain the man was going to drive back in a moment and say, “Ha! Fooled you! Geez, did you really think a person could be that cruel?” But he never came back. The sky got grayer, the wind got colder and finally a few snow flurries drove me back inside my car. I started the engine, turned the heater on full blast and waited some more.
I was shivering down to my very soul; no matter how hard the heater blew, I could not get warm. Finally, I realized the man wasn’t coming back. Edgar was not coming back. My husband was not coming back. My life as I’d known it was not coming back.
I drove home in a fog of depression. When I opened the door to my warm, cozy kitchen, I was convinced this had all been a nightmare. Edgar would be waiting there for me.
But he wasn’t.
I told myself I was being ridiculous. I’d only had him for a short-time.
I told myself I was over-reacting. There was no way losing a scroungy little dog could hurt so badly. I didn’t even like dogs. I didn’t even want a dog. I didn’t even let my kids have a dog because dogs were too much work. Someone had to clean up after them and feed them and walk them and…
Suddenly the rage I thought I’d finally managed to control overcame me again. I opened the kitchen door and threw the stupid bowls, the stupid dog food and the stupid dog bed as hard as I could. The dog food bag broken open and the brown, meaty pellets spilled in an arc across the dead, late fall grass of the yard.
I kicked the door shut. Hard. And I screamed and kicked the door again.
Then I lay on the kitchen floor in a puddle of sorrow and wept until I was exhausted.
I remember hoping I might cry myself to death. Was that even possible? Surely, after you’ve had your heart broken and your dog stolen, death by tears should be an option. It would be an easier solution than trying to get through every single subsequent day, right?
Unfortunately, though, I wasn’t able to cry myself to death even though I gave it a heroic effort.
After awhile, I realized I needed to get up off the floor, but the concept seemed beyond anything I could manage, so I continued to lie there, hoping still to die.
After awhile the phone rang, but I ignored it. I contemplated the grout lines in the tile and realized they needed a good scrubbing. The phone rang again. I thought a little bit about answering it, but it was waaaaayyyy across the kitchen and I was clearly incapable of walking that far. From my position on the floor I could see underneath the refrigerator; it was disgusting under there. I tried to recall whether I’d ever actually moved it to clean under it before. The phone rang again.
For Heavens Sake! How was a person supposed to cry themselves to death when the phone wouldn’t stop ringing AND they were lying on a disgustingly dirty kitchen floor?
When the phone began ringing a fourth time, I realized that it might be the dog thief calling. I leaped up and grabbed it, hoping against hope I’d hear his snarly voice come over the phone line, but instead it was my daughter.
“Mom? Are you there? I’ve been calling. Everying okay?”
What I wanted to say was, “Everything okay? Are you freakin’ kidding me? Okay? Not by a long shot!”
What I said, though, was, “Of course everything is okay! How’re things with you?”
“You sound stuffy Mom? Have you been crying?” she asked in a concerned voice.
What I wanted to say was, “Of course I’ve been crying! Life is terrible. Life sucks. Life is not worth living…get out now, while you’re still young,” but what I actually said was, “I think I’m getting a cold, what’s up?”
“I just wanted to see what you found out about Edgar’s owner? Did you get hold of someone?”
And I’m ashamed to say I lied. I told a tale worthy of a Tall Tale Telling contest. I told her I’d found the owners! Hooray! Such a good thing! They were so happy to get Spot back! There was a little boy and he cried when he saw his dog! I told her the people had been so happy, they had invited me over to dinner! And given me a reward! And had hugged and thanked me so much that I had actually become embarrassed.
“I wonder why they hadn’t micro-chipped the dog,” she asked. “I wonder how he got out?”
The lies continued. They were definitely going to microchip darling little Spot now! And wasn’t that just the cutest name? The little boy had named him Spot because that was the only dog name he knew. Spot had escaped out of the back yard and they had advertised and put up flyers and called all the vets! And, and, and!
I surprised myself a little bit by how talented I was at lying, then I wrapped all the lies up into one big box and tied them with a bow by telling my daughter I needed to get to bed, so I could head off the cold…after all, I had a blog to write.
Before she said goodbye back, my daughter hesitated a moment, then said, “Mom, you’re such an inspiration! When I think I can’t bear what happened with Dad, I think of you…Love you, Mom…get some rest.”
An inspiration? Me? I can’t even clean under the refrigerator. And my grout is disgusting.
Inspiration? Why did I ever have kids anyway? Now I’d have to try and act like I was actually getting my life under control again. I’d have to not wish I could cry myself to death. I’d have to actually start writing my blog. I’d have to not become a vigilante and hunt down the nasty jerk in the silver SUV to get my dog back.
Darn. Darn, darn, darn! Why couldn’t it have been me who’d ‘taken a final curtain call’?
To be continued, Tuesday, December 28st.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.