I have a bad feeling. Something is wrong. I grab the phone and call my pal June. She’s the invincible 86 year-old wife of the 90+ Eddy- tender war vet, family guy and my senior crush. I can’t stop blogging about them and their fluffy, little pooch- who first winked at me from a park bench last summer, yanking me into their triangle of love.
Since Eddy had a massive stroke, June answers the phone. There is a long pause as a growl crawls out of her throat and a few rusted words scratch my ears. She’s alive! Just out of Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital where love’s will and a crack medical team kicked her asthma’s ass.
Eddy? My heart leaps into my throat.
June’s lungs grasp for air. He… he… He can’t stay at home without her. He spent the week she was gone in a nursing home. He…he… He says he liked it. I hear Eddy in the background. I liked it.
I take a deep breath and look out the icy window, into the frozen heart of winter. Black crows circle the sub-zero park bench where we first met. I keep looking for her, but she’s not there. June chokes. The dog is dead. She’s gone.
Oh no. My brain runs in circles. No, no, no. This was not supposed to happen. The day we met, Eddy told me the dog was dying of tuberculosis, c’est la vie, he cried, but his mind tripped. It was his long-gone brother who died of TB in the war. The veterinarian diagnosed the dog with fatal leukemia, but he tripped, too. The little tyke was fine.
Sgniezka. Eddy whispers her name. Why she get sick? How can she die?
I pay my respects at their kitchen table. Tears trickle down the winding river of their faces. They tell me what happened, over and over again until there are no words left. I look down at my feet and notice the puppy poop-pad in its place on the floor. I can swear I smell something. I say, last time I was here, little Sgniezka laid a big one. Laughter! The air fills.
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