Puppy Love 14

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How was it that the next time I returned, Lucas had grown into a man?

Broad shoulders, full beard–I hardly recognized him, until I saw his goofy eyes and elvish grin. Of course, one look at him with the dogs, and it was clear this was their favorite companion, same as he’d always been, only grown up.

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He played violin as terribly as ever.

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Mochi, Miss Molly, and Dustin cowered in the corner.

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But Bartholomew sang along in his tuneful tenor.

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I made it a point to come around more often. It’s hard to know what “more often” is. I’ve always tried to keep in touch. But I realized that it’s when I do something, anything, even sit and meditate, that I enter the timeless stream and drift out of the fabric of the every day.

I discovered a way to watch–to keep my focus keen–which kept me floating down the same time-stream as my beloveds.

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And when I watched, I saw so much. I saw moments.

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And these moments brought me a cat’s smile. Is this how you experienced time, Otter?

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Lucas hadn’t improved in painting.

Maybe he didn’t paint to improve.

Maybe he simply painted because he loved it.

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Tanvi and I had been asking each other who Lucas would choose to help him. Maybe no one, I guessed. Or maybe he would wait, like I did, until he was very old.

Tanvi said that he would likely ask the cleaning guy from the maid service. “A beard for a beard,” she joked.

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And then, without warning, I felt the pull. I would have felt this regardless, whether I was watching or whether I was drifting, for the gaunt one and I had an agreement.

I was to be present every time he called.

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The sorrow comes, mostly, in thinking of those left behind. For Bartholomew, it was only his old creaky bones, whitened muzzle, tired eyes, and coiled tail that he would leave. Those old parts were ready to be discarded.

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He would be back, like Bobie, Nibbler, Babe, and Bosko. It was way past his time.

But staying longer doesn’t make it easier for those left behind. It might make it harder.

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Mr. Bones came in through bedroom, a grand entrance, with the drama of thunder and smoke.

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And then, he laughed.

The nerve.

“Knock it off,” I said. “Just get it over with.”

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It was quick, if flashy.

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Stay?

Of course Bartholomew chose to stay!

I grabbed his spirit and held it close. “Bartholomew, I have waited for you!”

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I’m next, said Mochi, but it won’t be soon enough.

Oh, pup! Don’t rush it! You still have years left in you! And I want to watch your old white paws pounce through the meadows again. Don’t be in a hurry!

She was ready to go with her mate. But the shepherd doesn’t listen to what we wish. He has own timetable that he’s sworn to keep.

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