When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow by B. B. Wright.
Heavy rain, common to November, had pelted the Meaford area for the previous twenty-four hours and, now, was nothing more than a drizzle. Located two hours north of Toronto on the shores of the fresh waters of Georgian Bay, the area awaited the arrival of winter and the influx of skiers and winter enthusiasts.
Louise Kedry’s long, reddish hair cascaded over the comforter as she pulled it up around her shoulders and under her chin. She wore soft brushed polyester blue pajamas bought for her by her late husband, Tom. Snuggling down to keep out the damp morning chill, she chided herself for not programming the thermostat to come on earlier.
On weekends, Tom had always brought her breakfast in bed: a tray of hot tea and warm buttered toast with strawberry jam, her favorite. He would sit on the side of the bed drinking his coffee while they rehashed the week and planned that day’s activities.
Her eyes welled up with tears that coursed a path across her flushed cheeks. She missed his playfulness and how he’d blame their dog Pepper for stealing a slice of toast from her plate.
An impish smile creased her girlish face as she pulled a couple of tissues from the box beside her and dried her tears.
A black terripoo, pressing against her, stirred restlessly as it jockeyed about for a comfortable spot. Finally, giving up, he jumped off the bed and ran to the bedroom door and scratched frantically at it.
“Ok! Ok! I’m getting up Pepper,” she said, disgruntled by the thought of leaving her warm bed.
By the time Louise’s feet hit the cold wooden floors searching for her Haflinger wool slippers, Pepper had nosed open the door and headed downstairs.
She watched Pepper through the window in the kitchen door rooting about to find the best place to do his business. He seemed so undeterred by the inclement weather and she envied him. Forcing her hands into the side-seamed pockets of her blue, full snap-front robe, her shoulders crunched inwards to a sudden chill. A burst of warm air from the vent she stood beside travelled up her leg and she moved closer to it.
By the time the whistle on the kettle heralded, Pepper was back in the house shaking off the rain drops and looking for something to eat.
Gently, she blew across the surface of her tea to cool it down while watching Pepper chow down. She welcomed the warm, moist steam on her face and the heat of the cup that she cradled in her hands and hoped Pepper wouldn’t pester her too much for his ritual walk. The radio in the background informed her that the rain would stop late morning and that it would be a cold but partly sunny day. Winds off Georgian Bay, biting this time of year, made her shudder even more when she thought of the possibility of a walk before the warming effect of the sun had managed to burst free from its prison behind the clouds.
She missed the company of her two sons and their families but she had come to accept that their busy lives pressed them back to their world. Though they had only left yesterday, it seemed an eternity ago.
Unnoticed by her, Pepper had finished his meal, slurped down some water, and made his way over to her, leaving a trail of water droplets behind him from his soggy beard. Still ignored, he pawed roughly at her leg.
Placing her cup on the table, Louise patted her lap to encourage him to jump up onto it. At first, she regretted her invitation because his wet face, licking tongue, and affectionate energy were overpowering, and she tried to push him away. But, once he settled down on her lap, she patted him, and her mood became warm and loving and she could accept his gestures of affection.
She remembered when Tom had first brought her to meet the litter of puppies and the only black terripoo among them he had already named Pepper. It had been obvious to her right from the start that Pepper and he had chosen each other and how much that relationship had brought out the little kid in Tom again. Pepper was his first dog. Her eyes bubbled up again with tears and she dabbed them with a well used tissue, retrieved from her pocket.
When Tom was dying of cancer, Pepper never left his side. They were inseparable. Pepper, a quiet dog except for the usual warning barks when strangers came onto the property, had become unusually restless during Tom’s final hours. When he died, Pepper’s prolonged forlorn howling sent a soul chilling dagger through the night.
Louise cradled Pepper closer, hugging and kissing his head. She knew she was silly to think it—it was just her imagination—but, she could have sworn that she felt Tom’s presence. And, she held Pepper even closer.
To be continued