"A Man's Best Friend"

“We are gathered here today to say our goodbyes to a dear friend and wife, Rosalina…”

Frank was lost in thought, as usual. He didn’t pay much attention to the sermon; I was too painful to listen. Instead he stood motionless and teary-eyed, numbly staring into the dark hole that would forever hold his beloved Rosie as a prisoner. The smell of her favorite perfume lingered in the spring air. He could taste it on his tongue. It tasted of lilacs and strawberries and of happier days. It tasted of home, but the taste seemed foreign to him today, out of place he thought.
How can I feel at home when my home is no more, I’m nothing without you Rosie. There’s nothing left in this old man. I gave it all to you and now I watch as my heart is being smothered in carelessly thrown dirt. I love you, Sunshine…

He let his thoughts go, floating like a balloon in guiding wind through his life before this moment. Memories of the past fifty years swan through his head as he replayed the short time he had wit his wife on this earth. He played through their wedding day, their first home, their first child. The memories became more and more recent…
1.
Frank Marino was a small man; A small man with small dreams and small needs. As of late, he lives alone in a house made of translucent glass walls framed in deep mahogany wood that never seemed to lose its rustic scent. A glass house placed precariously atop the steep Rocky Mountains and deeply hidden away between the luscious pines, that used to serve Frank and his mate Rosie as a vacation home. However, about three weeks ago his wife, his world slipped away into eternal sleep, taking half of Frank’s soul along with her. Figuring he had nothing left to live for, he moved into the mountains to end his days sulking and alone. He would let his failing health get the better of him.

Isolation and carelessness eased Frank’s pain. The view from his glass walls made him numb to the rest of the world, and to how sick he had become. The mountains made him breathless, and the cool, fresh air cleansed his soul as it flowed trough his lungs. He could feel her here, with every breath he felt her in the air. This was home. This was the taste that engulfed his tongue that day he smelled her perfume as she was lowered farther and farther away from him.

This was where he wanted to remember when he slipped off to heaven to remain forever next to Rosie.

Frank was never fond of the city life that Rosie had loved so much. She said things were easier there, and everything made sense. Not to Frank. Frank’s head was always up in the clouds, which is probably why he loved the brisk mountain air so much. He lived in a fantasy world where nothing made sense, but he liked it that way. He hated reality. That’s why Rosie was so perfect for him; she kept him grounded without bursting his bubble. When he was out of line, she always brought him back.

Frank didn’t know how to live without her. In fact, Frank didn’t really know how to do anything without her. He had stopped showering, stopped eating, even stopped taking his medicine. Surely his next epileptic episode would bring him closer to his wife, he thought.
2.

Frank woke up feeling a bit under the weather, which was usual these days. His heavy chest cough was back and he knew today would b among his worst. He wrestled himself out of bed and hurried into his fuzzy bear claw slippers.

Almost immediately after he stood up, his heart felt heavy and he grasped his aching chest.
“So it’s, going to one of those days, eh?” he mumbled to himself.

He shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed a glass from the cabinet above the sink. As he was filling his glass from the tap, he heard an unfamiliar digging sound coming from outside. Glancing out the wide window over the sink, he could see three small holes in his garden where his wife’s beloved Johnny jump ups were once peacefully growing.
Looking harder he noticed a sandy colored dog with shaggy fur and a dirt covered face, piling the flowers neatly to the side.
“Why you mangy little mutt!” he growled, grabbing his shotgun and running outside.
“Those are her favorite!”

When he reached his garden a rather peculiar sight was waiting for him. The strange pooch was sitting proudly with a bouquet of his wife’s favorite flowers in her mouth, which she had dug from franks garden, wagging her tail as if she was seeing an old friend for the first time in ages. If anyone else were to stumble across this scene, they might have found this dog special or even amusing, but Frank was too angry to notice anything besides the destruction of one of the last reminders he has of his Rosalina.

Before Frank could say anything, the dirty dog was already prancing her way inside his house.
“Oh no, you don’t! Get out of my house!” Frank yelled furiously.

The dog had put the flowers next to the half full glass of water that Frank had been filling, and was sitting in the middle of the kitchen with what looked like a grin on her face.
“Out, now!” he boomed.
No movement.
“You’re a stubborn little thing aren’t you?”, he said grabbing her fur and throwing her outside, slamming the door in her face.

Frank put the flowers in the glass of water and placed them on the windowsill. He headed back for his chair and picked up his newspaper to waste away the time. Just out of curiosity he would peek up every now and then and noticed the golden retriever was still sitting on his welcome mat at the front door. Almost as if she was waiting for him to give up and let her in.

As Frank started on the crossword puzzle he noticed it starting to flurry outside. Before he was halfway done it was a blizzard outside. Feeling guilty, and very much annoyed y the whining, he broke down and let the poor pup in the house where she quickly claimed a spot in front of the warm fire.
3.

Frank hated dogs, but then again he hated everything these days, and he figured he would seem less crazy talking to a dog instead of himself. So she stayed. As the days went on Frank barely noticed her presence, and as soon as the excitement of a visitor wore off he fell right back into his daily routine of sulking, and waiting.
He often sat alone at night in his dimly lit living room admiring pictures of his lost love. Of course, he missed the warm embrace of her hugs and her mesmerizing, but what he missed the most was her eyes. She would always catch him staring at them, which she constantly yelled at him for, “sorry, I just get lost sometimes’, he would say.
“And I always bring you back’, she replied.
It was an inside joke to them. Frank live in a fantasy world and he would always say Rosie was the only thing he enjoyed about reality.
“I still feel you”, he whispered, drowning in remembrance of her dazzling eyes, and listening to the quiet rustlings in the mountains outside. Those eyes that were such a vibrant blue it was almost impossibly human, with rays of yellow shooting out from the black center. He could always tell when she was truly happy, because in a moment of pure bliss the golden rays seemed to dance around her pupils like the sun dancing around the ground between the shadows of the trees in the mountains he loved so much.
“My Sunshine”, he mumbled to himself barely audible, as he put her picture back on the mantle and stared into the crackling fire.
“Oh, I forgot about you”, he said gruffly as he noticed the patch of fur that did not match the usually dark brown bear skin covering the foot of the fireplace.

The dog picked her head up shyly noticing his words were directed towards her.
“You still haven’t got a name, have you girl?”

As if she understood him perfectly, she got up and put her head in his lap, licking his hand gently. He let his thoughts wonder in search of a name but as hard as he thought only one name came to mind.
“Sunshine”

She gave him an approving kiss and then resumed her spot napping in front of the fire. It may have been his failing eyes and weak mind but he could have sworn that the dog was trying to fight the urge to wag its tail….
4.
Sunshine seemed to understand Frank. She understood how fragile he was in his old age and would help him with the stairs. She urged him to take his medication but he was too stubborn. That’s when the aggression started. One particular day Frank’s health went down hill fast. His coughing became constant and walking became a chore. His heart was accelerating and he knew that if he didn’t calm down or take his medication, a violent seizure would be coming his way. H rushed into the kitchen and grabbed his bottle of pills on the counter, debating if he really needed them this time, or if he was ready. Sunshine put her front paws on the counter and nudged the orange bottle closer to Frank. Annoyed he got up and walked over to settle down in his rocking chair, where he spent most of his time throughout the day. Persistent, as if the animal knew how important Frank’s medicine was, she grabbed the bottle with her teeth and plopped it right down on his lap.

“You don’t get it, stupid mutt, I don’t need these anymore!” Frank growled furiously, throwing the pill bottle at sunshine’s head. She whimpered as the pill bottle bounced off her head and into the fire. She growled a low steady rumble as if to say, “Hey, are you going to get those?” Frank’s short temper got the better of him and he kicked the dog away, storming off to bed.

Franks violent tendencies toward sunshine became more and more frequent, getting worse with his failing health. She never gave up her duty to protect him though. No matter how many times he hit, kicked, or pushed that dog way, she would always come crawling back into his lap with the same loving eyes. This confused Frank, angered him almost, he couldn’t understand why she would stay. This made his temper worse at times.
5.

Until, finally, his heart softened. He was on his way out and he knew that. Sunshine knew as well. He embraced it, she didn’t. She never left his side, almost like his guardian angel.

Frank awoke one morning and felt strange, yet relieved. He knew that today would be his last day on this lonely earth. He patently awaited the end in front of the fire in his rocking chair, with Sunshine right by his side. Everything was well and peaceful until Frank started to sweat uncontrollably. His heart began to beat a mile a minute and each breath felt as if they weighed a ton. He fell to the floor reaching for sunshine. She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and dragged him to his bed.

Struggling to get into bed he grabbed his dog by the face.
“This is it, girl.” He said, “My time has come. You’ve been the best friend a lonely old man could ever ask for. Take care of yourself-“

And then it hit. The shaking and thrashing rolling through his body, throwing him unwillingly this way and that. Normally he would try to fight it off, but this time he let it overtake him. Drowning in a restless sea, made angry by the approaching storm. Fear ran through him for a quick moment as he realized this was really happening, and then peace. He felt his head hit the solid wooden headboard above his bed, and suddenly everything was okay.
His vision was foggy, almost as if he were surrounded by clouds. He turned to his friend one last time and looked deep into her eyes. Those eyes that were such a vibrant blue it was almost impossible, with rays of yellow shooting out from the black center. The golden rays dancing around her pupils like the sun, and one single tear forming at the edge.

It was like he was seeing her for the first time.
“My Sunshine” he gasped.
He watched in amazement as she slowly transformed into her true self and laid on the bed next to her husband.
“Yes” she cooed.
“Rosie? It can’t be…”
“It is darling.” Her voice echoed like an angels, “I’m here to bring you into your new life, our new life. Now come my love, we’ve been apart far too long.”
She grasped his hand and watched as he closed his eyes. Frank was slipping into sleep. H slipped deeper, and deeper until he could feel nothing more.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Dawn said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 8:22 am
Wow, very well written. I would definetly ead more from this author
 
cilla said...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm
It brought tears to my eyes. I loved it.
 
sandixray said...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 10:42 am
Wow!!! What a great story
 
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