Someone to come home to...

Submitted for Contest #41 in response to: Write about an animal who changes a person's life (for better or worse).... view prompt

48 comments

Submitted on 05/15/2020

Categories: General


 In less than a year, my life has turned into the mother of all clichés. A fact that keeps coming up every time someone asks me about my midlife career change. 

 

 ‘From an investment banker to a kindergarten teacher?’ Their speculative eyebrows would taunt me. 

‘Oh you must love kids a lot then?’ They would ask in their fake honey-dipped voice. 

I don’t bother to explain to them that I was tired of running and I just wanted a change of pace. 

 

“But they wouldn’t understand, would they Molly?”

I turned around and spoke to the four-legged fur ball snuggled close to my feet. She lifted her head, looked at me with her big brown eyes, and then went back to whatever caught her attention on the floor. 

 

Shaking my head at her indifferent response, I chuckled. She must be thinking humans are weird, especially those of the female kind who talk to animals about their problems. I have been doing a lot of that lately overwhelming the poor, little animal. Weird and complicated, indeed. 

 

I bent down and affectionately patted her head and she leaned further towards me pressing on my calf with her whole weight. I love when she does that, like a full body hug. 

 

***

 

Molly came to my life at a time when I was going through what psychologists would call an ‘empty nest syndrome’. I had played so many roles in my life—a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. The last role was the one, which took most part of my life. But suddenly I had this new identity and the thought of facing it all alone scared me. Coming home to an empty house wasn’t something I did very often, or maybe never. I resisted the urge to frequently check on Pari, my little daughter, who is not so little anymore and who wouldn’t need my help with each and everything in her life. All our lives, we encourage them to be independent, but when the time comes – letting it go becomes an agonizing thought.  

 

Needing to keep myself busy, I started thinking. How do I fill the void? A friend suggested that I turn the emptiness into something positive and do the things I had always wanted to do, but never had the time to. I followed her advice and made a small to-do list—decluttering the wardrobe, catching up on the reading and the likes. Then followed the challenges. My wardrobe didn’t have any clutter to begin with, a talent I have always prided myself in. Coming to reading, I never liked books unless they served a purpose, academic or professional. I was never a fan of reading as a hobby. I crossed two items off the list, just like that. 

 

I can call my sisters and speak to them for hours, but I don’t want to smother them with my loneliness and depression too. When Pari came for her visit, she wasn’t happy with what she saw. I would catch her watching me, her face full of worry and concern for my well-being. 

 

“Are you ok mom?’’ She asked, while having dinner together.

“I am fine honey.” I replied, avoiding her eyes. 

 

I knew I wasn’t looking good; my mirror of many years said so too. I looked aged, much older than my forty-five years. The lines around the mouth and the dark circles under the eyes weren’t exact signs of a person who was ‘fine’. 

 

Past years hadn’t been so kind to me. My mom and my husband were taken away from me in a short span of time. I hadn’t lost it then. I held onto what I had, my daughter and the comfort and the support we gave each other. At that moment, at the dinner table, looking at my daughter’s sorrowful expression, I feared I was finally losing it. My sanity… 

 

She left the next day, but not before telling me what she felt about my state. She was even willing to sacrifice her scholarship and transfer to a University near home to be with me. Tempted? Of course, I was. Selfish? No, I am not. This is her opportunity to spread the wings and I wouldn’t snatch that from her. 

 

That leaves with me the third item in my list. Get a pet. Growing up, I had always wanted a pet for myself. Although I wasn’t discriminatory, I had a slight inclination towards dogs. There is something delightfully fussy about them that tugs at my heartstrings. Having a pet live with us wasn’t an option for me when I was a kid, in the cramped house where I lived with my parents, five siblings and a grandmother who was apparently allergic to pet fur. I would stare longingly at one of my friends’ pets and think, ‘one day’. But that day never came. When life got in the way and pushed me along for a ride, longing turned into a stupid idea. With a demanding job, a husband who travelled a lot and a kid to look after, my hands were full all the time. That wasn’t a home to bring another living creature to. 

 

***

I was busy looking at the animal shelter websites when fate intervened in the form of a tiny ball of black and white fluff. I found her hiding behind the bushes outside my house– looking lost, broken and skittish. She didn’t have a collar or any other identification and was acting unapproachable, so more likely a stray. I would bring her food and water everyday and she would eat, but she never let me get closer. Anytime I tried that, she would growl and back away. As days went by, I had the feeling that she kind of liked seeing me, but there was something stopping her from getting closer, possibly the actions of someone in the past. 

 

A few weeks later, we had a thunderstorm that lasted the whole night. I couldn’t sleep thinking about the helpless animal outside. By morning, I had made up my mind and I went looking for her. After a few hours of search, I spotted her, under an old truck across the street, drenched and shivering. I scooped her up and hugged her tightly and this time she didn’t put up a fight. She was ready to come along. 

 

As soon as I reached home, I gave her a proper bath and then checked for any visible injuries. A trip to the vet and one to the pet shop for necessary supplies later, we were all set. I couldn’t wait to call my daughter and tell her all about it. I was so giddy with excitement that I sounded like someone who won a lottery. Pari was surprised at the elation in my voice too. I heard her squealing with delight when I broke out the news.

 

She asked me if I had found a name for her. Without thinking, I said “Molly”.

 

“Mom! Are you serious? That's such an outdated name for a cute puppy!” She laughed out loud.

 

The puppy reminded me of a friend I had in school named Molly. Both were seemingly hurt in the past, which made them skittish around strangers. But Pari didn’t need to know all the details, did she?

 

Instead I said, “For an outdated owner like me, a dog with an outdated name would work perfectly fine.” with a cheeky grin. 

 

Our conversation ended with us both roaring with laughter over Molly and her antics. I hadn’t felt that lighter in so many months. 

 

It was like becoming a mom all over again. Am I feeding her enough? Is she getting enough sleep? Am I potty training her in the right way? After the initial teething troubles, we both have slowly settled into a familiar pattern. 

 

My days would start with Molly coming to my room for a cuddle under the quilt. I would kiss on her head not worrying about my morning breath. We would have breakfast together, sitting across each other. After I come from school, I would take her out to the park to meet our ‘dog-walking friends.’ My days would end in convincing Molly to sleep in her cot, instead of mine. 

 

***

 

There was a slow tapping out sound on the front door, pulling me away from my thoughts. Molly stood near the door, staring at me expectantly. 

“Time to go and meet our friends Molly.” I pushed the door open letting Molly out. She led the way and I followed, her leash in my hand.

 

The nest I built with all my love isn’t empty anymore. I have someone who will always need me. I have someone I can come home to...

 

 

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48 comments

Maggie Deese
23:19 May 16, 2020

Really wonderful story! I loved all the little details and descriptions.

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Roshna Rusiniya
03:30 May 17, 2020

Thank you Maggie!

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A. y. R
21:04 May 17, 2020

The shifting focus and the subtleties you wrote in really helped build depth to you story!

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Roshna Rusiniya
00:29 May 18, 2020

Thank you!

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Lara Macgregor
02:56 May 16, 2020

All the little details add to the cuteness of this story. Nice job.

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:19 May 16, 2020

Thank you Lara!

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Lara Macgregor
23:18 May 16, 2020

You're welcome!

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Rose Bingley
22:00 May 21, 2020

I love this story! It’s so realistic and captures the main characters emotions. That awkward time of coming out of raising children and going into middle age is Thought about so much, but usually not written about. If you just told me a sentence long summary of this story, it would seem kind of basic, but IT IS NOT! Thanks for the insight and entertainment!

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Roshna Rusiniya
03:47 May 22, 2020

Thank you for the great feedback Rose. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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Rose Bingley
20:02 May 22, 2020

❤️

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B M
19:00 May 21, 2020

in love with this! "They would ask in their fake honey-dipped voice." I can almost hear it coming out of their mouths, so condescending. And i think that Molly is a precious name, not outdated in the slightest! Keep up the good work!

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:05 May 21, 2020

Ah! Thank you for your sweet feedback! I really appreciate you reading and commenting!

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16:42 May 21, 2020

This story is so beautifully written! I love dogs too, and have one of my own! Keep writing! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
17:02 May 21, 2020

Thank you! I never had a pet. Now my daughter insists she wants one. 😀

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Chloe-ly Grimont
11:38 May 21, 2020

I really enjoyed your story! I found it great that your character's train of thoughts is actually relatable for many people. Also, the fact the she realises that her life has "turned into the mother of all clichés", and the humour with her daughter laughing at Molly's name gave the story a light, giddy feel :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
11:46 May 21, 2020

Thank you! I am glad you liked the story!

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21:13 May 20, 2020

Hi Roshna! I loved this story, and it was very sweet! You are very descriptive, and I love reading your amazing stories! Keep writing and stay safe!-Avery.

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Roshna Rusiniya
21:30 May 20, 2020

Hi Avery! Thank you so much for reading my story. I am quite new to writing. So it means a lot when I get positive feedback . I have read a few of your stories too and I loved them all. You stay safe too. Regards

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21:32 May 20, 2020

Thanks so much! For a new writer I recommend Grammarly! It is free and awesome!

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Roshna Rusiniya
21:33 May 20, 2020

I have it downloaded, never tried though. Will surely follow your advice.

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21:56 May 20, 2020

Ok, keep safe!!

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23:52 May 19, 2020

Aww, what a sweet story. You captured the feelings and lifestyle perfectly of a parent and family life. I was so into reading that when I came to the end, I was expecting more! Excellent writing🌟

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Roshna Rusiniya
05:24 May 20, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Blair L.
21:23 May 19, 2020

I love how you started the story! Very unique!

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Roshna Rusiniya
21:43 May 19, 2020

Thank you!

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23:48 May 18, 2020

A sweet story. All the way through I thought the mum had found a cat, because of the ball of fluff description and that's despite mum mentioning she had a fondness for dogs. I was surprised to find the animal was a puppy. Even though the animal is a dog and possibly more easily coaxed by a human in the difficult situation it found itself in, I think there needs to be some words that suggest how the mum retrieves the pup from under the truck. A dog that is as frightened as this one is - who has never previously let the human get close ...

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:34 May 19, 2020

Thank you Rhonda for reading my story. And I appreciate the detailed review too. Thank you for pointing out what I could done different/better. You have made some valid points. I will keep them in mind. Regards

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12:50 May 19, 2020

You are most welcome Roshna.

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Jesper Jee
17:13 May 21, 2020

Me too. The fluff made me think Cat. Funny how that works :)

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21:20 May 21, 2020

In my case, it might be because I'm a cat person. Jesper Jee.

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20:51 May 15, 2020

An absolutely beautiful story, Roshna. I loved it. I wrote about similar things of my cat "Gracie" and the "Empty Nest Syndrome"- in my book "God Knew". It was the first book I have ever written. It is on Amazon/ Kindle.

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:20 May 16, 2020

Thank you Patricia! Wow! I will check the book out.

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19:49 May 27, 2020

Really sweet story! My neighbors just got a new dog and it has had me missing many of the sweet moments you described here

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:51 May 27, 2020

Thank you for reading Jessica!

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Vrishni Maharaj
22:55 May 26, 2020

Great story!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:37 May 27, 2020

Thank you!

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Sadia Faisal
06:09 May 23, 2020

nice story, pleae like my story if you like it and follow me

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A.r. Eakle
04:56 May 19, 2020

I can relate to the talking to animals part for sure haha. Really cute story, I really liked it!

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Roshna Rusiniya
05:07 May 19, 2020

Thank you!

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Rachel Maclean
21:31 May 18, 2020

This is very positive and uplifting! Really enjoyed it!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:34 May 19, 2020

Thank you Rachel!

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Keith B.
05:20 May 18, 2020

Well written. Wanted it to be longer. Touching.

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:15 May 18, 2020

Thank you for reading Keith.

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Annora Chen
23:00 Jul 29, 2020

Oh yess, it is so hard to let go of someone when u rlly love them, but if u rlly love them, u will let them go, i hope i'll also be able to do that when i become a mother, uwuwu

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Kathleen March
14:00 Jun 10, 2020

A lovely pet story. They never get old, especially when told with love.

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:18 Jun 10, 2020

Thanks! ❤️

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