Reflecting on Christine and Molly

Susan W. Hudson

They sat on the deck overlooking the lake as they did every morning. “Red at night, sailor’s delight; red in the morning, sailor take warning,” Christine muttered to Molly. The sky was fiery red and excruciatingly beautiful. Was this truly a harbinger of things to come?

Molly turned her big beautiful head up and locked her black eyes on Christine’s sky blue ones. They had been figuratively tethered together for thirteen years. 

Molly was an accidental dog. Christine was on her back deck, innocently misting her seedlings, preparing them for warmer weather and their move to her garden.  That early June morning was very peaceful and quiet except for the birds singing. 

Christine didn’t exactly hear anything.  It was more like feeling a presence.  She looked up and there in her yard was the cutest little brown and white Staffordshire terrier puppy she had ever seen.  Her wrinkled brow made her look worried.  She cocked her little head over to one side and asked Christine a million questions. 

There was a flicker of hope when Christine saw that the pup had a collar. She called out to the “visitor” and she came running.  The collar turned out to be just decorative – no information.  

“Molly.”  The name rolled off Christine’s tongue.  Molly licked her face and waggled her tail.  “My new mama,” her bright black eyes spoke.  Christie’s life changed.

Wiggily, waggly, Missy Molly had a major problem that Christine suspected was mange.  They went to the VET.  Sure enough – mange.  For the next four months, Christine carefully measured out the prescribed amount of Ivermectin and squired it down Molly’s throat every morning.  She shoved a capsule down her throat every morning and every evening to stave off the secondary infection associated with her mange.  Molly never tried to bite her.  She never balked.  She trusted Christine completely. 

Molly loved Christine.  She wanted to be with her person all the time.  She rode shotgun for her mama.  If she heard Christine pick up her car keys, she went and sat by the back door and waited for her.  

“Ride, Molly.”  She would run to the driver’s side of Christine’s car and scramble into the back.  Molly leaned on her shoulder, and Christine could feel her big heart beating.  When they had to sit through a stoplight, Molly washed Christine’s face with her huge tongue.  

“Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?” she panted. They saw other drivers envying their sheer joy.  

Molly loved to go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings.  Christine watched her hunker down and give due respect to all dogs she met.  She liked nothing better than licking sandal-clad toes.  She especially loved baby toes.  The babies, in return, loved her antics.

 Christine had always been fit and active; she loved her exercise classes. So, when she began to be a little more fatigued, breathing a little harder, and just feeling generally unwell, she blamed it on a recent cold. She finally went to her doctor for a check-up. She was diagnosed with anemia, and the doctor noticed some bruises and some rash Christine had not mentioned.

Today, Molly watched her leave and assumed her position by the back door to wait. That evening, when she heard Christine’s car in the driveway, she did her happy dance and jumped up to greet Christine.  Christine was lethargic but greeted her loyal friend. They built a fire in the fireplace and went to their favorite place by the large sliding glass door to watch the sunset. It was bleak. There was no moon in sight and angry black clouds were rolling in.

Rob soon arrived. Molly loved him too. She greeted him and got her usual belly rub. Then they all sat on the floor to watch for the moon’s reflection on the water which never appeared. Through her tears, Christine broke the news to Rob that she had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. All three of them cried.

Christine didn’t really hear everything the doctor said after the diagnosis. He did not give her a death sentence, but she knew the next few months would be filled with chemotherapy, nausea, and loss of her gorgeous blond hair. She did know that the most important thing for her was love. She had to spend every minute she could showing Rob and Molly how much she loved them.

Molly was verklempt because Christine was gone a lot, and when she was home she was lethargic. They kept up their morning and evening ritual and their walks. Because Molly was such a lovebug, she enjoyed the extra naps and cuddle sessions.

In spite of doing everything the doctors recommended, following every suggestion, and surviving chemotherapy, Christine lost her fight with leukemia after six months.

In his grief, Rob did everything she had asked. Her body went to scientific research. Her friends and family held an “I Love Christine” party. The walls held big screen televisions with a rolling saga of all the things they loved to do together. Every scene showed Molly up front and center. 

One day, Rob came home from work and found Molly, sitting by the sliding door, watching the moon reflecting over the lake. It took a few minutes, but Rob realized that Christine died one year ago today. He tried to soothe Molly. “I know, girl. I miss her, too.” Rob made himself a meager dinner. He noticed that Molly was missing. 

After calling her and searching for her, he checked their bedroom. He found Molly on Christine’s side of the bed. She was already cold and stiff. He took her to the local Veterinary School and had an autopsy. Her heart had just given out. He had her cremated and placed the redwood box filled with her ashes and a beautiful picture of her on a special shelf. Next to it, he placed his last picture of Christine at her healthiest.

Rob went and sat on the floor by the sliding door, alone, and watched the full moon dancing merrily over the water as he reflected on his two special girls. One with a broken body and one with a broken heart.

November 20, 2020 14:20

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