I just came around the railing and thought I saw Jake at the bottom of the stairs. Or maybe expected to see him. For an instant he was there. Sitting. This keeps happening. A shadow across the bed. It’s Jake. It’s not. He’s on the other side of the front door as I unlock it. He’s coming into the office to check on me, as he always did. I turn my head. Dark, empty doorway.
This is what happens when you spend all your days and nights with a companion—person or pet.
In the five years since I quit journalism to stay at home and write, Jake has always been here. I’d not spent more 24/7 time with anyone or anything else in my life since childhood. That’s why he’s haunting the corners of my eyes.
Jake’s been dead a month and a half. I didn’t do a Facebook post. I’m not much for the Facebook of the Dead thing. To each his own. No judgment. My letter of last instructions will specifically state that the second thing that must be done after my death is shutter, shut down, delete my Facebook account. I don’t want to haunt ZuckerbergWorld like some low rent, wise cracking Neuromancer. Not unless I can be Neuromancer. The first thing in that letter will name the pub where the Guinness will be on me.
I’m cheating, I guess, by writing something here about Jake. I had to somewhere. Dogs don’t get obits. This certainly is a violation of his life’s philosophy. Jake didn’t believe in bad news. Everybody should always be happy. Tails should always be wagging.
A post on a blog about a dog can end up being tired. Cliched. Everyone says the same things about their dog. Maybe. But from a writing standpoint, Jake was here the whole time, from the querying to getting an agent, from the submissions to publishers to getting a deal, from wannabe to a guy with four books done.
I should translate the look on Jake’s face in the picture above:
I have my leash on. We’re upstairs. As in the second floor. In the office. Idiot.
I am the only person Jake would ever call an idiot. After ten years total and five years 24/7, he had every right.
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