“How could you have lost a plunger?” the clerk at the hardware store said on the phone. “What did you do with it?”
Clearly this was a repeat customer. Her tone of voice gave her away.
Was he asking for a replacement or help in finding it? I didn’t stick around to find out, but it did make me curious.
How could you lose a plunger? How could you lose any plumbing tool for that matter? They’re large enough to trip over.
I’ve lost rings down bathroom drains, wallets at check-out stands in supermarkets. I even lost Calvin once on a walk. He gave me signs that he was sufficiently trained to obey me, so I let him off leash. I blinked and he was gone. The next thing I heard him baying like a coyote in heat. He found a hole in the fence and wiggled through to dash after a hare. I called him, but he was deaf. Unlike sheep who obey the shepherd’s voice, Calvin ignored me as if he didn’t belong to anybody. He was his own master, and that scared me to death.
So much for the love and care I had given him over the years. So much for the training that didn’t stick. So much for the intense distress this was putting me through. He plainly didn’t care.
And then there was my son. This was his dog. He left him in my care while he went to college. “Son, I lost your dog. He’s probably dead. I’m sorry.”
Calvin was camouflaged in a thicket of bushes. I called louder. Nothing. I couldn’t climb the fence without tearing my body in pieces. I kept calling louder until I was hoarse. A park ranger heard me and opened a gate in the fence and let me in. I walked for miles calling Calvin’s name. Birds flew overhead. Squirrels rushed by me. Calvin was nowhere to be seen.
I never thought I’d do it, but after an hour I gave up. I turned back and walked to the car weeping.
As I got closer, I saw a silhouette of an animal by the driver’s side of the car.
It was Calvin, sitting there, waiting for me, with a smirk on his face.
Two emotions came flooding in. The first was relief that I wouldn’t have to tell my son his dog was dead. The second, I wanted to kill his dog.
Calvin says, “My body may have escaped, but my heart was always yours.”