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Something About Nothing
"Oh my God! Did you just see a little dog run by here? SHADOW! I’m sure he came this way. SHADOW! He’s a tiny thing, about this size."
She held out her hands, this complete, total stranger, and began outlining her missing dog on my front lawn.
"He’s a terrier. SHADOW! A blackish, grayish color."
The frame she made was so incredibly small that I didn’t know if she was actually serious or just joking with me. But then I looked into her weary eyes, the same eyes that had probably been searching hours behind trash cans and shrubs for her lost companion, and I realized that this was a very real situation.
"He’s done this so many times already, you know, run away. Little s***."
She covered her mouth as if that was going to make everything okay, as if that was going to bring her missing dog back. Then, she began outlining him again in mid air with her hands and slowly, the dog began to take shape in front on my eyes, as though she was God and was presenting me with an this immaculate vision of Shadow. I could see him now. I could see his blackish, grayish coat attached to tiny, body frame. And he was scared. And he was terrified. And he was running, running, running.
"Ummm. No mame. I’m really sorry but I haven’t seen any dogs, any little dogs, pass through here."
"Okay. Well, could you please let me know if you do?"
She said this as she hurried further up the block, further into oblivion, running as if she knew exactly where she was going. People like to do this sort of thing. They like to pretend they have some sort of direction in situations they really have no control over. I could still make out her cries, even three blocks later. She called for him almost in a rhythmic chant, as if she were trying to reach him from the beyond. SHAWDOW! two, three, four. SHADOW! two, three, four; each one a little louder and little more hopeless than the one before.
I couldn’t help but wonder if Shadow was already dead. Maybe he preferred it that way. Maybe they both preferred it that way. What if she “accidentally” left her back gate open and Shadow “accidentally” ran out and “accidentally” jumped in front of a moving car. These sort of “accidents” happens all the time.
Some people would rather die than have to tell their loved ones that they don’t really love them anymore, that they don’t want to go on living with them. The whole Shadow search could just be an emotional cover-up. Those budding tears could have really been ones of joy. Inside she’s really jumping with delight and there’s probably a cake that was made especially for this occasion waiting for her at home.
Or, I could be very wrong. Maybe this really is true, unconditional love and the fact that Shadow is not in her arms right now is tearing her up into so many little pieces. I can only imagine the kind of thoughts that are rushing through her head right now. She’s probably so scared that she sick.
Would he run to her when he sees her? Would she run to him? Would he jump on her lap and lick the tears off of her face as if to say "I’m sorry." More importantly, would she forgive him?
It’s getting dark now, very dark. And I hate that hopes of finding Shadow are fading with the light. And I hate that I can still hear her cries. And I hate that I care so much about something I know so little about.