October 9, 2007
By Kasie Miller, Hampden, MA

Rosie? You in here?

Ray lifted his left hand to the doorknob and twisted.

"Rosie, come out."

Kate always hated left-handed people; she told him that he should start trying to use his right-hand. He was going to show her that he taught himself how to write with his right. She never came home that say, so he could never show her. She would’ve been happy.

"Rosie, I see you."

He pushed the door open, the blue suede sofa sat alone in the middle of the tidy room. It was Kate’s favorite room, when they had moved into the house 2 years ago, they used it for storage, but she wanted to make the room all hers. She wanted a blue sofa and decided that she would create her room around that. She bought a matching loveseat with fluffy green pillows. Ray would sit on the couch with Kate and let her decide what she wanted to put in the room next. Soon, there was a wooden coffee table and matching end tables and a large lamp that made the room shine. She spent a whole day painting the walls a light blue shade. Then, she found curtains to frame the large bay-window that overlooked the neighborhood. One day, Ray put a picture over the fireplace, a painting that her grandmother had done and she had loved. She would have loved it, but she never came home.

"Rosie, I still see you."

This was the last room, Rosie wasn’t in the backyard or the front yard and the neighbors hadn’t seen her. He’d checked every room three times over, except for this one. Kate’s room. It still smelt like her, a mixture of hazelnut and vanilla, like her favorite coffee. He bought her a personalized mug. It was her favorite color blue and had her face printed on the side. She never came back that day, but she would have loved it, she’d always wanted one.

"You’re not very good at hiding, Rosie."

He lifted up the curtains that had been replaced four times; Kate never could stick with one color. They started white, then baby blue, then a pale green to match the pillows. For a while they were empty, the windows had looked bare and naked. He bought her curtains that day, light brown. She never saw them.

"Rosie, how’d you even get in here?"

He left the room, closing the door firmly behind him. Her name was neatly carved into the outside of the door, the wood was soft and there were scratches on the bottom, from shoes scuffing against it. Ray turned and made his way down the hall, Rosie followed silently. As he turned to the stairs, he smiled at the sight of her name in the door. He had it done a few weeks ago, but Kate never saw it.

"Let’s get some fresh air, Rosie, come on."

Immediately, she went to the side of the yard and started looking around. She was making her way through the tiny garden that surrounded the yard. A few lilies and mums were planted here and there, Kate loved lilies. She would have loved to see them in a tiny ring around the yard. She never got to see them though, she never came home.

"What is that Rosie?"

Rosie laid it in his lap. Ray recognized it as one of the red and white checkered gardening gloves that Kate had cherished. She’d gotten them at her friends wedding years ago. She kept them in the tiny white shed that sat in the corner of the yard. It was only big enough for once person to duck into and held their two bikes, the lawnmower, gardening tools, a shovel or two and a few pots. He told her she needed a new pair of gloves, he was going to offer to but her some, but he never got the chance to ask.

"Come on, Rosie."

She followed him over to the side of the house, where a gate led out to the front yard. Ray looked down at Rosie; her soft brown eyes looked up at him innocently. He loved Rosie and so had Kate. She was the one who decided to get Rosie; she told him that it would be good for them, responsibility as a couple. He made his was through the gate and sat down in the lush grass in the front yard. Across the street, two boys were tossing around a baseball as their mother flipped through a magazine on the front porch.

"Rosie, you would have liked Kate."

Rosie, who had lay down in the grass next to him, lifted her head. She remained silent and gave him a puzzled look.

"She would have liked you too, if she ever saw you. She never got to see any of it."

He laid his hand on Rosie’s head and rubbed gently. Her tail wagged furiously as she took in the love. He rubbed his hand down her back, pale brown fur ruffled beneath his fingertips. He got Rosie too, that day. Kate always wanted a dog. This gift was mostly for Ray though, but obviously it would be for Kate too. He had put a big red bow around Rosie’s neck and gave her a bath and everything.

"Rosie. I got her so much that day. I did so much. For nothing. For grief and hate and regret."

He looked over at the front porch, where a wooden bench hung from the top of the porch. It was big enough for two people and was stained a deep brown. Ray had put it up that day too, the biggest of the surprises. They had one before that, but it had rotted out from years of use by the old owners.

"You know Rosie; they called her the front porch swinger. She loved swinging. She cried when the old one fell."

He assembled it that day too. He sat on it, waiting for her to come back from work. Then the telephone rang. He sat on the kitchen floor for the whole night. Rosie sat with him, silent and confused. Ray had thought about giving her back, he couldn’t take care of a dog himself. But he managed. Now he felt like an idiot, letting it all out to a dog.

"Rosie, it was her birthday you know. That’s why I got her everything. You and the swing and the door, the curtains, the picture, the mug. And the lilies and my hand. So much, and for what? I lost her Rosie, and you know what happened? Some drunken dude couldn’t control his car. Rosie, she never got to see all I did for her. All I wanted was for her to be happy on her birthday. I wish she got to see the swing and the lilies and the curtains and everything else. Especially that swing. She would have been in her glory Rosie, you know that."

Suddenly, Rosie stiffened. A soft wind brushed through the branches of the trees that lined the street. The swing on the front porch rocked back and forth slowly. Back and forth. The breeze retreated, whistling by Ray and Rosie. He could have sworn her heard a whisper.

"I see it Ray, I see it all."

Ray swallowed hard and figured he was imagining it. Then he heard it again and the bench continued to swing back and forth very slowly. He looked down at Rosie, who looked back up at him, her watery brown eyes, knowing.

"She saw it Rosie, she saw it all."

Rosie barked.

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