Hugo woke up feeling much better. And as promised, Zippy was wandering back over to him as he opened his eyes. The odd thing to Hugo was that it felt like exactly the same time of day as before. The sun was in the same place in the sky, the breeze was blowing exactly as it did when he drifted off to sleep, the smells, the grass, everything was in the exact same place doing the exact same thing. Like all of it was waiting for him to wake up so they could do it all over again.
“How long was I asleep?
Zippy hadn’t thought about time in a long time. “It doesn’t work quite like that here, Hugo. You just come and go. When you think of sleep, you go to sleep. When you think you will see me or the others, you’ll see us. It even works with the sun, the grass, the breeze, the smells. All of it. It’s whatever and whenever you think it is.”
“OK, well that’s going to take some processing,” a confused Hugo thought to himself. He didn’t get to reflect for very long as a rather muddy dog approached them.
“Hey Chester, how’ve you been?” asked Zippy.
“Good, good, thanks. Just finished playing in the sprinkler. Man, that never stops being fun! You must be Kevin’s new arrival. I’m Chester,” and introduced himself to Hugo.
“Nice to meet you Chester. I’m Hugo. Are you one of Kevin’s too?”
“Yeah, I am. I knew Kevin after Zippy. He was a little older and wasn’t around very much but he was fun when he was. But I’m not waiting for Kevin. I’m waiting for his mother.”
“So how do you two know each other then?”
Zippy moved to sit by Hugo as he spoke. “Dogs who were part of a person’s life aren’t all necessarily waiting for that person. Each of us is waiting for the person who meant more to us than anything else on earth, when we were there. But we have a sense for the other dogs are who were important to our person. You’re new here – you’ll get the hang of how it works.”
“He’s right,” added Chester. “When I first got here, I didn’t know who Zippy was and he explained it to me. Then I met other dogs like Suzy, Trudy and Baxter. Each time I met one, the feeling of what they meant to my person grew stronger. After a while you just know it and you say ‘Oh hey, you’re here waiting for Kevin’s sister aren’t you,’ or whatever. It’s a nice little ice breaker.”
OK, well that part made sense. Something else was perplexing Hugo, however. This sense of waiting. Waiting for what, and for how long? Zippy had mentioned it, then Chester did as well.
“Hey boys, I’ve gotta run,” Chester said, already galloping away. “Buster and I have a play date. Good to meet you, Hugo. See you again soon!”