“It’s not that I don’t care. Don’t you understand? Of course, I do. It’s just, there are things in my life that I care about too, things that I need to care about, and I simply can’t leave everything behind and let my life revolve around you, no matter how much I want to. You can’t really expect me to be there for you every single moment of the day. I know what it feels like to think you’re alone, to think you’re worthless, like you’ve been abandoned, and to not know why. Trust me, I do, very much. But this is not it. Don’t I always show up? Don’t I always come back? I have not abandoned you, and I never will, and you have to start trusting me sometime. I know what you’ve been through. You were lost, and I found you, cold and alone. I know it’s impossible to set your mind back to the way it was before, but you have to try to move past it somehow, learn to trust again. There’s only so much that I can do, and I do my best. I try my best. But in the end, it’s not up to me, is it?”
She looks at me with those big round eyes that always melted my heart, glistens in the golden winter sunset, her lips sealed, for the moment, but I know what she’s about to say.
I listen patiently as she whines, nothing I’ve never heard before, but I listen and let her finish all she has to say.
“I know,” I tell her as I put my hand on her bowed head and gently rub her cheeks. “I know all too well.”
I pull her in and embrace her and then I kiss her cheeks. I can almost fell the dejection dissipate, and I felt guilty for the way I reacted.
“You’re a good girl,” I tell her. “You’re a good girl. I’m sorry if I was mean. It’s just that it was a long day for me too, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. My problems aren’t yours, and you’re not a problem at all. You’re the comfort. I’m glad to have you in my life. You’re all I have. I love you. Yes, I love you.”
I put my bag down while she paces around me. I change my shoes while she waits patiently. She know what’s next, but she’s careful not to be too hopeful, but still she knows.
I smile at her, and then I grab the leash from behind the door. Now she jumps and barks with joy.
“You silly girl,” I laugh as I watch her spin round and round.
I put the leash on her and lead her out, closing the door on the mess within. I’ll clean up later, I thought. For now, I need a walk in the park just as much.
(A sequel to An Existence in Crisis)