by Randi Lee
Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #1842766
He sits by my feet. This is our story.
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His name is Calvin.
The outsides of his elbows are bare and calloused-over from resting by my feet all these years. The raw, black skin is a testament to his devotion to me. His eyes are wide and fond and amber and always watch me hopefully, waiting for that moment when I will run my hand between his orange ears.
He’s so patient with me. Too patient. I ease into my reading and my writing and my knitting and forget he’s even there. Sometimes, when I notice how he regards me with those doting eyes of his, I try to tell him to go and play, to have fun with the chocolate one and the pug.
But he sits where I sit. This is our story.
The sound of the garbage truck fills the great room and he’s barking again. It must be Monday. I ask him and ask him and ask him to stop. He doesn’t pay attention so well when he thinks he’s protecting me. Two men exit the truck and stare at the house, watching him attempt to break through the oblong windows separating them and us. I wave in apology as I grab his collar and pull him away from the scratched glass.
He’s at the door now, begging to be let out. I say, “No. Not right now. Wait until they’re gone.”
With his growls and snarls he says, “Let me out, Mom. They’re coming to get you.”
Finished collecting the garbage, the two men return to the truck and it rolls away. He runs from window to window, trying to catch them before they’ve gone out of sight. They turn onto Sunrise Terrace and vanish. After some time, the barking abates.
I am interrupted again when the house is threatened by a stray cat in the drive way; again when the postman dares to assault us with his onslaught of bills and junk mail; again when the school bus pulls to a stop at the corner, unleashing an army of children upon our yard.
Each time he diligently reminds me that he is my guard and no harm will come to me on his watch. Each time I say, “No” just a little bit louder. Each time I become more frustrated and less inclined to do the thing that I was doing before. Reading and writing and knitting become foreign concepts to me as I perpetually pull him away from the windows and door.
It’s late now. I do not like the end of the day when all is quiet and still and the house is running cold. The unknown of the dark frightens me and leaves me on edge. I do not like what I cannot see.The pug is on his back, nipping at my fingers as I attempt to type. The chocolate one is on the couch next to me, curled in upon herself. Calvin is on the floor, resting on the blacks of his elbows. The plow comes by. His ears perk and I know the barking is coming. I brace myself for the anxiety that comes along with his vocal assaults.
Nothing happens, however; he does not bark this time. Satisfied with a low growl, he remains at my feet and forgets the sound of the truck pushing snow away from our driveway. Perhaps he knows that I am already on edge and that his barking will frighten me more. Perhaps he understands that he is doing more harm than good. Perhaps he’s just tired and I am reading too much into this.
My back rests against the failing cushions on the aged couch. The chocolate one lies next to me and I split my attention between the pug and my computer. Calvin stays diligently by my side with his hopeful, doting eyes and I take a breath, knowing all is well because of him.
He frustrates me as he protects me from the world; I pay him little mind as I afford attention to the pug and my reading and writing and knitting. Every so often I say, “Go play, Calvin. Go play.” I try to entice him to do other things.
But he sits where I sit. That is our story.