Hugo and Zippy were at the end of an enjoyable walk on another sun-drenched afternoon. It was a lazy, meandering walk as they stopped frequently to chat with other dogs.
They ran into Suzy and Baxter, who spent most of their time hanging out together. While they weren’t waiting for the same person, neither of them remembered how they got here. Dogs like this found each other. Everyone had their own theories of why but the most agreed-upon was that they shared a happiness that was different to the others, which created a special bond. Not that everyone there wasn’t happy; it’s just those who remembered how they got here knew there was an unavoidable sadness that accompanied it. Happy as they were, memories inevitably settled, however briefly, on the moments just before their arrival.
In any event, Hugo and Zippy liked chatting with them. Their energy and light hearts always left them smiling. And while Zippy didn’t know either of them back there, Hugo knew them both. Each of them was waiting on one of Kevin’s sisters, and back there, Hugo played with them from time to time. Not often. Not enough to really bond, but enough that they all enjoyed each other’s company. After Zippy, Trudy and Chester, they were among the first to welcome Hugo here.
While Hugo knew that once you made it here, all your pains, all the illness, the aching joints, all was gone and you felt better than you ever had before. He had felt it himself and it was wonderful and baffling at the same time but he didn’t care – he loved being whole again.
No, what was especially fascinating was that Hugo only remembered an old Suzy. Hugo was young when he met Suzy. They played whenever Kevin and Simon visited Sherry but Suzy tired quickly. Then, after a few visits, they visited Sherry and Suzy wasn’t there. Hugo didn’t really think much of it at the time; he, as all dogs do, lived for the present back there. When he met her here, he almost didn’t recognize her. She was so bouncy, energetic, joyous. She remembered Hugo and wanted to make up for lost time, the time that she couldn’t play with him as much as she had wanted. So, she came around for a chase session occasionally, which took place around Sherry’s back yard, a memory she and Hugo shared. It was easy for them both to imaginate this same scene, and they did so enjoy sharing part of the back there, here.
It was about the same with Baxter. Hugo liked all his friends up here. Each friendship was unique. With Baxter and Suzy, he especially liked that they knew each other back there, shared memories of people they loved. And he was glad for however long they could play together while waiting for the person they loved dearly.
After a few more stops, Hugo and Zippy decided to rest for a bit. As they lay in the grass soaking up the sun’s warmth, Hugo decided it was a good time to share something with Zippy that had been on his mind since he watched the act of forgiveness between the dog and her person. He had thought about how excited he would be to see Kevin, when another thought crossed his mind.
“I don’t think Kaydon, when he gets here, is going to be waiting for Kevin.”
“Maybe not,” Zippy answered. “You said he had people before Kevin and Simon. He might end up waiting for one of them.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s possible,” agreed Hugo. “But I think he’s going to be waiting for Simon.”
“Would it bother you?” Zippy didn’t know where Hugo was going with this and wanted to find out more.
“No, not at all. I’m just remembering back to when I met you, when I first arrived here. You said you were expecting me, and it was because we were both going to be waiting for Kevin. I’m not expecting Kaydon with a sense of anticipation that I think you had with me. I know he’s sick and he’ll be coming, and I’m looking forward to seeing him. And that’s it. If he were going to be waiting for Kevin, shouldn’t I be feeling something more?”
“Hugo, we’re all different and how we get ready for other pets to join us is unique. It could be that you’re experiencing that anticipation of Kaydon in your own way that you don’t recognize because he’s not here to confirm who he’s waiting for. Or he could be waiting for one of his people before Kevin and Simon. Or, he might get here and you will indeed find out he’s waiting for Simon.”
That possibility had never occurred to Hugo. Until recently, he assumed that Kaydon would be part of his pack. As he reflected on this potential path, he saw some sense in it. He and Kevin had a special bond back there, no doubt. He thought more about Kaydon and Simon and how their personalities suited each other, how Kaydon liked curling up next to Simon when they napped, how he’d bark if Simon were outside. How he always wanted to be with Simon. Both he and Kaydon loved Kevin and Simon equally, and he knew Kevin and Simon would say the same of them. He also realized he didn’t know anything about Kaydon’s people before Kevin and Simon, other than they had to give him up and he ended up living with the three of them.
This realization of the subtle, complementary even mysterious differences between love and bonds struck Hugo as a complicated thing indeed. Who do you decide to bond with when you can love more than one person? But he knew: it’s not a conscious decision. You don’t decide. As he looked up at The Grove, he thought about how lucky he was. Lucky to have so many people he loved. So many who loved him. And one person he bonded with and who he was waiting for. The life he had back there decided it for him. And so, it would be with Kaydon.
He made a point to go find Driver soon. Driver was a dog that lived on Simon’s grandparents’ farm when he was little. Simon loved spending days on end playing with Driver. Driver provided Simon with unconditional love, stability, and a friend to play with in the fields, woods and streams of the Devon countryside. He loved Simon. And he had a bond with him, waiting for him to show up on this side whenever he was ready. If he and Kaydon weren’t both waiting for Kevin, maybe Kaydon would be waiting for Simon when the time came.
He decided he would find out what Driver knew.