I was walkin’ along, mindin’ my business, when I spied a man sitting on a park bench, staring out across the lake. I was going to pass by, but he said, “Hi, Jim.”
I recognized the voice, even if I hadn’t recognized the back of his head. It was a neighbour, Derek.
Some impulse led me to sit down beside him. I thought he might like some company to stare at the lake.
He wanted company, but not for that purpose. “I lost Charlie last week,” he blurted.
Charlie was the kind of dog I once thought of scornfully as a “small furry object suitable for punting.” A low-slung, yappy, bundle of hyperactivity. That was before I knew Charlie personally. Charlie was always up for a walk, a game, a cuddle.
And he had been Derek’s companion for ten years.
For half an hour, as we sat on that park bench, Derek poured out feelings about his relationship with Charlie. I think he needed to. Talking helped fill the hole that his furry friend had left.
Or at least it helped him map the edges of that hole.