I picked up the pen. I put it down again.
Picked it up, put it down. Picked it up, put it down.
Picked it up.
I wonder what you would think of Tommy. He seems nice and all, but a little bland. I want adventure! I want an adventurous boyfriend! But I also want someone to hold me tight in the wintertime, and who will kiss me with abandon, and…sometimes I don’t know what I want. Or who. Should I stick with Tommy, for now? Or is that just leading him on? Perhaps it is. It probably is. Plus, you know, “Tommy and Tammy” sounds a little silly.
I got a 100 on my spelling test. Yay! I’m so happy! But I wish I could hand it to you, and have you put it on the fridge with a big smily face. I can’t do smily faces like you do. Mine are always lopsided. And I can’t make ants on a log like you do (my raisins always fall off the celery), or wash dishes as clean as you did, either.
I miss you, Mom. When will I get to see you again? Ever? It’s been so long. Two whole months, since you went away.
Dad keeps talking about getting a dog. As though that will replace you. OK, I know he doesn’t want to replace you, that’s just silly. He just wants a little happy back in the house. Although I would love to have something soft and furry, maybe sleeping on my bed…warming my feet. You know how my feet get cold in the winter. Heck, a dog would be almost as good as a boyfriend, for keeping feet warm and snuggling.
I wish I could see you again. But I know it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Why did you have to go away?
It’s February already. What do you think of the snow? It seemed so beautiful, when it first fell, but now I’m getting a little tired of it. Is there snow, in heaven? Can you see it from there? Or does it all look just…white?
What is heaven like? Is it all boring, with angels playing harps and floating on clouds?
Are you even in heaven? Does heaven even exist?
The priest says you’re with God now. How do I know that’s true? How do I know anything’s true? It’s easy to say, “Just believe,” like some people said at your funeral. As though believing is a choice. It’s not! It’s based off of what is, and I don’t know what is at all!
The priest says to have faith. As though that’s different from belief. Maybe what he means is to trust. But if that’s what he means, why doesn’t he just say it?
Can I trust, when I don’t believe?
I miss you so much, Mom. You seemed like you had all the answers. But you didn’t believe…or did you? In those final moments, when you said, “God…Jesus…” were you swearing, or praying?
I want to believe you were praying. I want to believe you found something, at last, that you could put your trust in. I want to believe that you believed. But I don’t know.
I miss you, Mom. I love you.
We got the dog. His name was Bruno, and he kept my feet warm, and snuggled up next to me on the couch, and he was wonderful. He would wake me up in the morning with a big sloppy kiss, and jump on the bed until I got him breakfast. He would race around the house, and hop up and down when I laughed, with this big goofy grin on his face. Until one day, he wasn’t there.
I picked up the pen.
Bruno escaped his leash, and a car honked, and he got scared and ran. Mom, I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried praying, but all that comes out is “Help!” I miss you. I bet you’d find Bruno in a snap.
Can you maybe whisper to God that we’d like Bruno back? Please? I’ll be good, I promise. I’ll be really good. I’ll say prayers, and not complain when I have to wash the dishes, and, and, I’ll try hard. To trust. Maybe I’ll even believe, if you send him back.
I went outside, and sat on the porch. And waited. And waited. No Bruno.
Send Bruno back. Send Bruno back right now. Please!
And I went back to the porch, and I waited some more. Until it got dark, and I fell asleep. Then my dad was shaking my shoulder…
“Tammy, they found Bruno! ‘Cmon, we gotta go get him!”
“Huh? Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!”
We hopped into the car, and drove for maybe fifteen minutes, on a long country road, then an interstate, then over a bridge. We got out at a farm. There was an old man, waiting there, in overalls, and in his arms was Bruno.
“Well, lookee here who’s come for you, lil fella.”
“Bruno!” He handed him over, and I hugged my dog tight.
“Funny thing is, he was just waitin’ at the front door. Came in real calm like. Like he knew he’d a found a good way to get home. There’s floodin’ in that creek, on account of all the rain yesterday, and the bridge is dangerous for a dog. Cars ‘n all. That’s probably why he didn’t go home on his own.”
“Oh, oh! Thank you!”
“Thank God, little missie. All I did was call the number on the collar.”
And I did. I thanked God. I thanked God whole bunches. But most of all, I thanked my Mom. See, there’s something I knew, that the old man didn’t.
I remembered when Bruno escaped his leash. I remembered standing there, holding the leash, and the collar that had slipped off his neck.
“Thanks, Mom. And thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot.”