Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

There is a scene in Les Miserables where Marius, recovering from his own wounds, sings a song about his friends who died on the barricades. In part, it goes “That I live and you are gone, there’s a grief that can’t be spoken, there’s a pain goes on and on”.

My little dog Jack used to perch on the arm of the couch while I watched television in the evenings.  I would lie with my head at one end, my feet at the other, and he would be on the armrest by my feet. This could be very annoying because something about the flickering screen would trigger a strange behavior of snapping at the air.  A mild seizure disorder, perhaps?  But then, when he got old, and could no longer jump up on the couch, he would lie down on the carpet right next to it, with his head always resting on my shoes left on the floor.

Tonight, after a long day, I watched a movie.  When I got up at the end, and my feet came down seeking my shoes, I was careful, as I always tried to be so I wouldn’t accidentally kick him in the head as I got up. But he is no longer there.

Earlier this week, I lost a friend—Catherine Doyle, who died in Albuquerque from complications after abdominal surgery. Catherine had a little dog too, named Boo Coo, because he was a french poodle and because he was born on Halloween.  I told little Jack to go find Catherine and keep her company.  Truth be told, I never liked this time of year.  Empty chairs at empty tables.

In memory of Catherine Ann Doyle, December 1, 1943 to December 18, 2012, and Vale Vue’s Pocket Change, aka “Jack”, October 27, 1998 to December 21, 2012.