Ten days ago, my cousin would have turned 38. His beagle, who is now my beagle, is whining in his crate. Beagles, if you don’t know, are beautiful and complicated and a little bit of mess. Beagles are like people when it all comes right down to it.
Last week I had a dream about my cousin. We were driving and catching up. We both knew that he had died. “Yeah,” I said, “but tell me. What’s it like?” I was pointing to the sky. I felt bad for asking, like I was violating some secret. It’s not that I needed certainty, but here I was, staring at it. Here I was, staring at Easter.
“Yeah,” I said, “but tell me. What’s it like?”
“You can’t even begin to imagine,” he said.
“Good,” I can picture myself saying. “Good,” I said. “I thought so.”
I’ve been writing and workshopping a story about a group of people living on a block of rowhomes and the glimpses they get of each other in passing. To the right you’ll find an excerpt. Who wouldn’t want a dog like this?
Earlier this morning, I came home from a jaunt outside to find my own dog clearly wanting a walk. It’s icy and raining here. My coat and shoes were off. Then I took a look at what he’d brought me immediately after sensing this thing might not go his way. It was a typed of piece paper. The final line of the page?
I haven’t worked on that story in a while. I couldn’t even tell you where the manuscript was if I needed to. I’ not saying (I’m just saying.) He got the walk, of course. He earned it.