God bless Sparky

I’m leaving the grocery store, walking towards my car with my cart. I hear a little doggy barking by the entrance. It looks like he or maybe she (it’s was dark so I’ll call it Sparky) has a tag but maybe not. Now I’m putting my groceries in my trunk, Sparky is barking at everyone leaving the store. This is a tiny little dog, idk maybe some kind of chihuahua mix, not something that could cause serious harm to humans. To me it looks like Sparky is just scared and looking for help. I pray his humans are also at the store and will return to Sparky soon. I finish packing my groceries in the trunk and start heading back to cart return. I see Sparky about to cross a busy street. I stop, God please don’t let Sparky get run over. Sparky makes it across to the other side, looks back and keeps barking. I resume taking my cart back, I see a little boy who was just as fixated on Sparky’s crossing as I was. He gets it, right? Nope jk, now he’s shouting at Sparky to shut up. I feel like I have to do something. I pick up that little shit and yeet him across the street for Sparky to feast on. No, I didn’t do that, but his mom did tell him to chill.

As I returned to my car, I could see Sparky, just across the street, still barking. This is what I needed to do though I didn’t understand why at the time. Instead of going straight home I parked in the opposite parking lot and got out. Sparky ran away. I followed Sparky down the alley towards the next block but every time I got within 50 feet or so Sparky ran further away. I realized I couldn’t catch Sparky, but I had chased Sparky out of an empty alley towards a bar and food truck, so hopefully someone could do better and get Sparky home. I went back to my car and drove home.

As I did, a thought occurred, why did this all bother me like this and hours later still does? Surely, I’ve seen a stray dog running around before and not even cared if it had a tag. Sparky belonged somewhere, right? No doubt someone out in this world was trying their hardest to get Sparky back. That’s when I realized. Maybe Sparky didn’t belong anywhere. Or maybe, where Sparky thought it belonged, no one actually wanted Sparky there. I’m probably projecting on a chihuahua mix a little here but that’s when it made sense to me. Sparky is either lost or unwanted. And I’ve felt like both for so long.

God bless Sparky.

12:46 AM, February 18

Several loud gunshots erupt outside, waking my family and putting my nerves on edge. It looks quiet outside, and if anyone else in the neighborhood is alarmed they’re hiding it inside and to themselves.
It takes a few minutes to sooth my kid back into bed. Normally my husband would be frustrated with me waking him with the spooks going bump in the night, but this time the sound woke him before I did, he says it sounded like it was in the bedroom.

A few minutes more pass after the family has gone back to their rooms, and I hear the sound again, further away this time.
The clown in me thinks about that meme circulating about the neighbor shooting his gun off periodically to keep housing prices down. If that were the case, I wish they wouldn’t. The reality of it is probably worse than I imagine though.

What I like about you

He provided natural, sober highs and flushed, beet red cheeks.

My lipstick was always unevenly placed as were my fears.

There was awkward dancing that felt sexy,

and soft pupils dilated with hands flailing.

He reminds me of the first bright leaf falling from a Fall sky.

Leaning on brittle hope, he manuevers around rooms and universes, all with

Elation in looking at one smile, and bubbling laughs kept secret

Over synchronized chemistry.

He is brash and blunt in his unabashed honesty,

And even in the way he dances off kilter, romantic and unhinged with a simple sway.

Sometimes the way he repeats a story forty times still feels like fresh paint.

I loved his burgundy sweater, and huggable overstretched arms but his

Anger was always boiling like a kettle,

His wise cracks revved up, a veneer that

Would never crumple.

The name calling was what the refs called unsportsmanlike.

I felt disintegrating chances,

and all the “no’s” and musical numbers attached…

There was a verified exile, lips trembling from unprovoked fears, and

Unobtainable goodbyes like I had imagined.

Left over were

The rehearsals that never came, the backdrop simply fading, and cast that called it quits.

Rosy cheeks and nasty comments combating wind sailing emotions.

No matter, it all entered a void.

Nothing would be forgotten.

The days flowed with his absence, but the memories felt like

Summer…peaceful and sunny and helpful in their making.