• Brandon Quinlan

They're Gone

Day 1

I think they’re really gone for good this time. Here I lay, on my couch, just staring at nothing. All I can do is think about them. I’ve been wandering around the house all morning hoping that I’ll turn a corner and they’ll be there. I just wish I could chase the kids around the halls or cuddle up on this very couch with Denise one more time. I’ve had this sinking feeling before… that I’d be left here alone, but I was never able to convince myself that this time would come. They’re gone for good this time and I’m to just care for myself.

It was just yesterday that me and Billy were playing ball on the backyard. Billy just turned 6 a few weeks ago and he already seems stronger than his age. When we were tossing the ball yesterday he threw one over my head and I almost ran into the fence trying to catch it. We used to only be able to play chase and hide-and-seek, but he keeps getting bigger and smarter. Its so amazing to see. But even with that, he is a little kid and I have to protect him from danger. I would do anything for Billy, even if it meant running out in front of a car. I almost had to do that last week when Billy tripped in the street in front of the house. I can’t even imagine the thought of never seeing him or watching over him again. Even last night, the last night before they left me here, we had a bad thunderstorm. I remember when I was young I used to be terrified of the storms and I would snuggle up next to my mom so tight she could barely breath. But I knew she would be there to protect me from any danger. I would always do the same for Billy. That’s why I climbed into his tiny little single bed last night to protect him from the storm when he was hiding under his sheets and couldn’t stop crying.

Claire was the oldest. She had just turned 13 and she was starting to have boys over to the house. I hated this so would do whatever I could to intimidate them and make sure they never came back. She would always try to close the door and keep me out while they would hang out in her bedroom. Proably because I would always try to stick my nose in their business. She wasn’t as innocent as she used to be, but I can still remember those times. Hanging out in her room while she would have tea parties with all of her friends. She got so mad at me one time when I accidently knocked over the table and she kicked me out of her room for the day. She forgave me pretty quickly though because that night we cuddled up on the couch and watched Disney movies all night. Those are the times I’m going to miss most.

And Denise. The mother to these beautiful, amazing children. She isn’t my mother but she has taught me so much and I can constantly feel her loving spirit protecting over me as a mother would. We used to do literally everything together. From walks in the park to cooking dinner together for the family. Well… the cooking part was mostly her. I would basically just wander around the kitchen and eat little bits and pieces while Denise would actually prepare the meal. I’m not much of a cook anyway. The one time I tried I ended up covered in tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is not fun to try to get out of your hair, but it was good for a nice laugh. Those are the times I’ll always remember.

So here I am now. I can’t stop pacing back and forth through the living room. I think I’ve bounced this tennis ball against the wall over a hundred times at this point. I think they’ve only been gone for half a day, but I feel like I’ve already lost my sense of time. Is it going to be like this forever? I can’t imagine living in this big house without them anymore. The memories of them are so strong. It almost feels like I can here them talking to me at certain points in the day. I walk past Billy’s teddy bear in the living room every few hours. That’s when it really hits me. It seems like they’re there with me in that very moment. I just can’t see them.

Should I try to stay here and move on without them? Maybe I could find a new family. Maybe I should just run out into the woods and try to make it in the wild. That’s what my ancestors did. They didn’t need a big fancy house or toys or food at the ready for them. They hunted and got what they needed, when they needed it. I think I could do that.

While I pondered life and what options I had moving forward I began to dose off on the couch. I had spent more weekend afternoons and even weeknights sleeping on this couch lately. Maybe that was the sign that this was coming. They didn’t love me in the way that they used to, and they were ready to leave. Ready to lead a life without me by their sides. While I napped, I actually had a really good dream and I was starting to forget that I had been left alone. In my dream, I was standing in an open field. The sun was bright and there were flowers all around me. There were also a ton of bunny rabbits that were so cute that I couldn’t help myself and I had to try to catch one. I was chasing them around that field for what felt like hours. I wasn’t able to catch one before I was awoken by a sound. Laying on the couch, my eyes popped open.

There was the sound of keys jingling outside the door. They’ve come back for me? I knew they’d never leave. What was I thinking?

The door opened and Denise was standing at the end of the hall with a bag of groceries. She saw me and smiled and I had to do all I could not to stand there and cry. I ran up to her as fast as I could and she put her grocery bags down on the top of the laundry machine to give me a big hug and scratch me behind my ear.

“Hey Roscoe, did you miss me?’” she said.

“Yes of course!” Is what I tried to say, but I don’t think she understood me. My tail was wagging as I licked her face.

“You hungry? I had to go to the store to buy you some more food. Come here, let’s get you some dinner and then will go for a walk. How does that sound?” she asked me as she smiled and walked towards the kitchen.

I followed behind her as always do. I hope she takes me to the park today. Those walks are always the best. I can’t believe I thought she would leave me. Now hopefully she doesn’t decide to leave again tomorrow.

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