Maggie

Maggie is my dog. Well, she isn't my dog, she is Clara's dog. Clara is my Daddy's friend. Maggie is blonde and as big as me. She doesn't get mad at me ever. We run down the train tracks and across the field for hours, sucking in the fresh suburban air. It's miraculous. Maggie is too fast for me so I always ride my bike alongside her and her hard tail whips my foot that lays on the petal. We race into the dandelions and bushes, waking the bunnies who always jump out of hiding. They are as perky as trees meeting the summer breeze. My legs give out sometimes and Maggie spins around in circles impatiently when I am spread out on the field gasping for breath. Her hot tongue slides across my face and I jump up immediately, wipe my face and tackle her. My giggles are loud and joyful as if I had just discovered laughter.


The town of Kent loves Maggie and I. And we love it. It smells of rain and sunflowers as if trying to project safety. Maggie is big enough for me to jump on her back and people walk by with large smiles on their faces to match mine. Maggie is soft with me, she knows I am fragile. With Daddy, it's different. They battle each other, he teases her by sprinting back and forth, seeing if she will match his steps and chase him. Her lips seem to always curve up into a smile and when her barks break free from her throat, we know she is happy. The barks do not scare us, they are reminders that we effect her just as much as she effects us. Daddy loves Maggie and Maggie loves Daddy. Daddy gives her a treat and she devours it (in a polite manner) on the grass.


We know Maggie is coming into the house when you hear one or two huge thuds on the door screen. That's the sound of her tail smacking the frames. Her feet punch the wooden floor and with confidence written all over her, she bounds into the kitchen looking for me. I am on the counter with Mommy, eating the macaroni and cheese Clara had made for me. Maggie gets on her hind legs and peeks over the edge at me. My macaroni and cheese suddenly seems meaningless and immediately, I hop off the counter and bolt through the door with Maggie lapping her tongue against my thighs. Everything is bigger than I am. Wherever we run, there is enough space for the both of us. The two of us together, friends.


At night, thunder struck and erupted. Maggie starts to cry. Her whimpers are quiet and muffled like a mouse's. She curls up into the circle carpet and stuffs her head between her paws. I crawl up by her side and pat her stomach while playing with her tail, unknowingly of the annoyance. It hurts my ears to hear her cry. We lay side by side until the constance of my hand rubbing against her belly rocks her to sleep and I listen to her quiet hiccups after she started to dream. Let her be, Mommy says. Mommy doesn't understand that Maggie keeps me safe and I keep her safe. I brush the pieces of Maggie's hair that fluttered over me and as I shut my eyes slowly, I remember that I had forgotten to bring her a blanket.





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