Walking Him Home

Dearest Rachel –

I have just woken up, and am lying in bed, dictating this. This morning’s dream was nothing particularly special. If anything, the scene seemed almost realistic, at least, in appearance.

In it, I was walking Chompers home. Not on the return leg of whatever circuit we might be taking; no, I’m talking actually walking him back to his real rightful owners. Somehow, he knew the way even though he hadn’t been there in ten, twelve years. It was decidedly a rougher, seedier part of town, and the traffic around us was pretty intense. Clearly, we were actually in the city, not the suburbs I was so familiar with. And yet he strode confidently forward, as though he knew where he was going.

We got to an intersection, and he all but bounded across the zebra crossing. He knew where he was going, and was eager to get there. I, on the other hand, had no idea, it was worried about him all but jumping into traffic. I almost had to run to keep up with him, and make sure that he wasn’t crossing against traffic, and running the risk of being hit and squashed flat.

We finally got to the opposite corner, and he continue running, bounding away, leaping with his back feet, and landing on his front feet, in a mad charge to get where he was going to. For my part, I saw no one coming out to greet him from any of the row upon row of closely set brick houses. Where was he so eagerly dashing off to?

As he continued to run farther and farther ahead of me, he began to fade from view, and at that point so did the vision, and I realized I’ve been dreaming again.

Do I really wish that he would just run away? The old boy can hardly walk these days, even with the help of his wheelchair. He’d be absolutely helpless; a sitting duck in traffic. No, that couldn’t be it.

Do I wish I could find someone else who he would be happier with? Well, the responsibility can be tiring… and, frankly, tiresome. I’m sure he would be happier with a lot of other people. Although, at the same time, most people I know – and that know my situation – have acknowledged that they would’ve probably sent him to meet you by this point.

Which begs the question in and of itself: would he be happier if I would just let him go, and send him off to see you? You’d think it would be a win-win situation. He’d be with his Mistress, the one who truly loved him, and who he (in his gruff and grumpy way) truly loved back, rather than this indifferent caretaker who I expect he sees me as – which isn’t far off the mark. Meanwhile, I would be free from the burden of responsibility that is taking care of him. I would finally no longer be anchored to this house, unable to leave for any great length of time, because he would need tending to. I could get the carpeting replaced throughout the house – or even put some flooring in the dining area. Who knows? I’d have the option to do anything.

So why are there tears running down my face as I tell this to you? Why does it bother me so much at the thought of letting him go? Why is it that I literally cannot dream of saying goodbye to him? I mean, I still consider him a burden, a little more than a responsibility to tend to. I confess, I don’t have much affection for him – and accordingly, I doubt he has much for me. That’s fair. But as long as I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m supposed to “know” that it’s time, I’m not ready to give him up.

Meanwhile, I envision you up there, surrounded by various animals somewhere by the Rainbow Bridge, looking for all the world like a pallet-swapped Snow White (Deep Purple, perhaps?) There are the dogs that you used to call your own, the cats you attended to at that one old bachelor’s place as part of our unusual assignment in your dog walking days. And they’re probably dozens of other animals and we never met here on earth, hang around with you while they’re waiting for their owners. Heck, for all I know, some of their owners might already be here, but they’d rather hang out with you. Just… try not to be too smug when their owners show up looking for them, though.

There’s an old showbiz adage, that admonishes the aspiring star to “never work with children or animals.” They’ll always upstage you.

You would’ve never done well in show business.

But you did all right in real life, didn’t you?

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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