Delores and Lloyd
This story is about a Woman that passes my house every single day when she walks her dog. I see her socializing at the park and i also see her when she’s alone. She always seems somber until i say hello, or someone else does. It makes my day to brighten hers. even if it’s only by a little. This is her story, from my eyes. (I apologize for the length, just give it a chance.)
I awake from the same dream every morning. Torn from the same lips, hands, and memories as yesterday and the day before for the last forty years, or is it fifty now? Oh, who the hell knows? The dream replays the last time that I saw the love of my life. We’re at the end of my parents’ driveway saying goodbye, of course I hadn’t expected his absence to turn eternal, but it was a grave moment none the less. I was memorizing as much of his face as I could with my fingertips, and his eyes were closed, his voice unstable.
“I don’t want to go Delores.” he whispers, “But I swear, I will come back for you.” He opens his eyes now looking straight at me, burning his sea green irises into mine. “You here me? I will be back. I promise.”
“I know Anthony.”
We exchange desperate “I love you”s and he begins to walk away slowly, backwards at first, and I am grateful for the extra seconds to see his face. Then he reluctantly turns around and I watch his back move into the distance.
Then it’s as if my present mind catches up with me, I remember the phone call that changed my life, that informed me of the end of his. I remember that I had a chance to stop and here it is, in front of me again. I open my mouth to scream something, anything that will make him stay with me, but before any sound can escape, I’m awake.
It’s Wednesday and I greet the day with a sigh, knowing that it really doesn’t matter what day it is, they’re all the same anyway.
I hear a familiar tapping on the floor. This is the reason that I choose to get out of bed.
“Good morning my Lloyd.”
He points his graying nose at me sniffing the air as a response.
“I suppose I should let you outside, yes?”
He heads toward the bedroom door.
Lloyd is seventeen years old and his body shows it. He’s got salt and pepper on his nose and the tips of his paws, his back left leg is at a constant shake, and his eyes are covered by a slight film, not enough for complete blindness but enough to suggest old age.
We have racked up the years together. He was just a puppy when I was fifty six so I guess you could say that I got a head start, but he has been here for all the important parts.
We go throughout the day on our familiar routine. Feed Lloyd. Feed self. Watch whatever soap opera available. Read a chapter or five out of any given Jane Austen. Feed self again. Walk Lloyd.
It’s usually around five when I set my shuffling feet and the four legs of my walker to the sidewalk. Lloyd leads the way on a leash that he despises but deals with anyway. I find myself immediately in a better mood when I go outside. As if every day I am realizing for the first time that there is a world out their and it does not revolve around my ticking clock.
There’s the neighbor’s seven year old daughter with the wild curly hair that comes to pet Lloyd every day.
“There’s your friend” Says her mother with a friendly smile, every time that I pass. She has warm eyes, traced in worry lines etched by things only she knows. Her teenage daughter has the same friendly disposition. She has curiosity sewn in her expression almost always, and she always listens to me tell her the latest updates on Lloyd‘s health or my thoughts on the weather, and intently not courteously, not because she has to, but because she wants to.
Then I make my rounds to the park, where I meet Janine, who uses her dog walking as a way to let off steam. We talk for twenty minutes sometimes forty five, while Lloyd lays in the shade rubbing snouts with any dog that walks by. No matter what the subject, she always ends by telling me how grateful she is for my ear.
“Oh, it’s no problem.” I always say. “I’m glad to help”
I return home and get ready for bed, thinking of my day. Using the good feelings and the things that I learn from all my neighbors as a shield from what I know I will see when I succumb to my subconscious. I remind myself that life is made of the things you will live through, not the things you regret. I close my eyes, and until the morning I look forward to waking up again. I am strong.