She awakens on the sofa. She can’t go into the bedroom or the master bath. His things are everywhere…right where he left them. She can’t sleep in their bed…with his things all around. It’s too much for her addled brain to understand. So she sleeps on the sofa every night.
She sits up on the sofa in the dim light of the living room. This morning she has to take one of the chihuahua’s, Jasmine, to the vet. Jasmine is elderly and is reaching the end of a happy life here on Earth. Arthritis cripples her hips…she is now unable to walk unassisted.
She wishes for Tom. He would handle this and of course, she’d go with, but they’d be together to make each other strong. The stunning realization hits her again that she’s alone. She’s the only adult in the house who can handle not only this task, but every single other task that comes up. Broken toilet…she has to figure it out, flat tire…thank God that two people showed up to help, washer won’t work…yep, she did that too. She lowers her face to her hands. Overwhelmed with the weight of her life. Overwhelmed with the sudden changes. Overwhelmed with a grief that can’t be explained…it can only be experienced. She wonders again “why?”. There’s never an answer. Sometimes she thinks she’s losing her mind. She texts his phone, hoping that somehow he still gets her messages.
She dresses and walks the dogs. It’s time. Jasmine is laying in her bed, her milky white eyes gaze up at her with trust. She pets Jasmine and tells her she’s a good girl and then wraps her in a blanket to keep her warm. She places Jasmine on the passenger seat and gets behind the wheel of the truck that was his. All of his things are still in the truck too…including his hair brush that holds strands of his silver and grey hair.
She drives across town to the veterinarian’s office where they are waiting for her to arrive. They are given a room immediately. She begins to cry. Why does she have to do this alone? Why does she have to do this at all. She realizes how whiney she sounds, but her emotions are such that she can’t stop pleading for answers. Answers that never come.
The vet comes into the room with an assistant. Jasmine is laying on the examination table. It’s silver and slippery. She doesn’t try to stand when the vet comes in. The doctor explains what’s going to happen while she weeps…not only for Jasmine, but for Tom and for herself. The assistant tries to reassure her.
A fine silver needle is inserted into Jasmine’s leg vein. Jazzy doesn’t flinch. She pets Jasmine and kisses her and tells where what a good dog she is. The doctor and the assistant join her in reassuring Jasmine as she falls asleep. The doctor places his stethoscope on her chest and says “She’s gone”. She collapses in a puddle of tears. She pets Jasmine a last time and tells her to be with Tom and to find him. She tells her she’s a good girl and then the assistant wraps Jasmine in another blanket and carries her respectfully from the room. She’s chosen a city cremation, meaning she won’t receive Jazz’s ashes back. She gathers her things and walks out of the office with tears streaming down her face and slightly sobbing as she walks through the waiting room.
Everything hits her at once…Tom…now Jasmine. She sobs uncontrollably in her truck until a stranger taps on the window. She opens the window and the lady who tapped says, “Oh my God…I love my dog so much, and I’m SO, SO sorry. Could I give you a hug!? She gets out of the truck for a hug from a total stranger. She needs hugs so badly, just to reassure her that the world isn’t ending and there are still good things and people out there who need her.
Getting back in the truck, she tries to pull herself together. She has to go home now. She drives emotionless to the other side of town.
She just needs him.