For part 1 – Click Here
For part 2 – Click Here
For part 3 – Click Here
I try Bart’s number for the fifth time. A week’s over and there’s been no news from him. I’ve been waking up every other night ‘cos of Baxter’s weird behavior and I’m a bit sick of it.
‘Finally!’ I almost yell into the phone.
‘Norah, I know I am late, I’ll be back in 3 days. How are you?’ Bart sounds unabashed.
‘Your damn dog’s been working the graveyard shift and I DO NOT appreciate it.’
Bart coughs into the phone and sighs, ‘Look, Baxter is heart-broken ok? It has been a few months since her pup died and she always cries at night. The vet told us it would pass and to be frank, it is getting better.’
I look across the room at Baxter, who is currently in a state of bliss, asleep on her back after a big meal.
‘I didn’t know that.’ I mumble into the phone.
I walk back to my bed and open my laptop. Today’s the day I start working from home. There are over 20 get well soon messages and e-cards from my colleagues. I scan through them briefly, sending everyone a simple ‘thank you’.
After a few hours, I check my phone. The messages have also stopped. Now that you know that I am on the mend, you’ve dropped all pretense of caring. You scumbag. You…. You haven’t called. You haven’t dropped by. You have vanished into thin air – like you were never there. Fuck you.
I put my laptop aside and hobble to my fridge. There’s an old tub of ice cream which doesn’t smell like it’s expired. I search my collection of CD’s for something sad – ah – The Notebook. I put on my giant flat screen tv, hoping that the movie will evoke some emotions that I badly need to release.
What a dumb girl I am.
But sure enough – after an hour into the movie I’m bawling. And you know what – so is Baxter. The moment she heard my first sob, the dumb dog crawled into my lap. I think it was partly to beg for a bit of ice cream. But also to give me a few comforting licks and whimper and snuggle with me. Damn dog. She’s kind of cute.
For the first time I give her a hug. Here we are. Man and animal. Comforting each other. So this why people are mad about dogs. For being all dumb and cuddly and gooey. Huh. Perhaps I won’t return her to Bart after all.
I feel a bit better once the movie ends. I feel like I have a lot of sorrow left in me…but this is good for now.
I look at my phone and yep – true to form not a peep. I take a deep breath and delete your number. I mean – I know it by heart so it doesn’t really matter but I do it anyway. It’s a sign of moving on, isn’t it?
I put my phone on silent and pull Baxter close to me. Something tells me we are not going to wake up tonight, in a long time.