Kaydon and Driver hit it off, as Hugo knew they would. The mystery of the pack bond, as it was with Zippy. And their bond continued to strengthen. It happens here – as your pack bond grows, you know what the rest of your pack is thinking, then feeling, then when it mixes all up between thinking and feeling.
An afternoon that was sunnier than usual, where the grass was a deeper green, and the wind rippled its waves hypnotically, found Hugo and Zippy lying next to each other. Not sleeping, not awake. Aware of each other’s thoughts as they floated in, lingered for a bit, then drifted away as gently as morning gives way to a sunny afternoon.
Then there was a thought that didn’t drift away. It stubbornly held on to a corner in Hugo’s mind. Though Zippy was aware of it he thought it best to let it be. This happened sometimes and one didn’t always want to talk about the reasons the thought overstayed its welcome. They thought about their person and that thought burrowed its way into a feeling of loss. Or they reflected on the dogs in The Grove and wondered how they were so fortunate, which caused many a dog to think for a long time about their lives back there. This reflection might go on for a long time – hard to say since it could be a few minutes back there or a few months. In any event, they knew well enough when saying nothing mattered most.
Then Hugo spoke, as Zippy knew he eventually would. “I think they have new dogs.”
Zippy knew the feeling all too well. It happened to him with Hugo, and yet it was Hugo’s feelings so he was curious what he felt.
“Why do you think that, Hugo? What’s changed?”
Hugo snorted in several deep breaths as he collected his thoughts. “The biggest thing is that Kevin is happy again. Happy lots. Often. Not little bursts and then he’s sad again. I feel him laughing – that joy that he used to have and that started to fizzle little by little when I grew older. It’s there again.”
Zippy remembered Kevin as always happy, so he didn’t quite get what Hugo meant but he let it go. It was Hugo’s time to speak.
“Also, and I know this is going to sound strange, they must have put me in the ground there somewhere because now, every once in a blue moon, it’s as if this new, young life is getting close to me. Where I was anyway. I know I’m not there anymore but I just know they get near the place sometimes.
“They?” asked Zippy. He remembered, looking back, what he felt when Kevin got Hugo but it was just Hugo.
“There are two of them. Two little ones who play a lot and chase each other, and I feel them chasing over where Kevin and Simon must have put me before I arrived here.”
Zippy didn’t know that feeling either. Not exactly like that anyway. He knew when Kevin was around back there, near where that young high-schooler had put him just before he arrived here. Where the college kid came to visit. Where the young guy just starting out in life would sit and talk to him. He knew life was going on back there and knew when Kevin came to see him. And he did know as well, when Kevin and Simon got Hugo, then Kaydon. They came back to his parents’ home to visit. During those visits, Zippy sensed that another dog had entered, become part of his life. Not the same as this though. Not a consistent occupier of your old home, a steady reminder that there was someone else now.
He thought about Chester, and why he didn’t get a sense of him at all. Of course they weren’t part of the same pack. None of the dogs who came after him, at Kevin’s parents’ house, were waiting for Kevin, so he never felt that sense of another dog back there. Only emotions of Kevin.
“What’s it feel like, Hugo?”
“Hmmm. Let me think for a second. It’s not that I’m jealous. I figured I would be when it happened but I’m not. I’m happy for Kevin, and for Simon. I wish they wouldn’t run over where I am back there but I remember being a puppy and having all that energy, so it’s all good. I feel his joy, and it’s such a relief. And I know that one day they’ll be joining me, or Kaydon, or me and Kaydon, and our packs will grow. And yet that makes me sad because I know Kevin will be sad again. God, so much that’s going through my mind!”
“Maybe you don’t have to think about all that right now, Hugo?” Zippy eased gently into this thought, not knowing if Hugo wanted his opinion just now.
“It’s all so new is the thing,” replied Hugo. ”I bounce around from thought to thought and emotion to emotion as those dogs do things, react to Kevin, as Kevin does fun stuff with the dogs and reacts to them.”
“That makes sense, Hugo. You have plenty of time to think about all these things. I did too. Not quite the same things as you but it was still hard to work out what was happening. You should be glad you have me to talk to,” Zippy said, as he tried to lighten up the mood.
“I am, my friend,” Hugo responded tenderly. “I don’t know what I’d have done with all these thoughts and feelings without you here, and I’m glad I don’t have to find out. And I think I’m kind of tired of talking about it for now, if that’s OK. Maybe more later?”
“Of course, Hugo. Of course.”
Zippy thought more about the different Kevins as he looked back on those mysterious times when Kevin talked to him later on, or later on back there anyway. To Zippy, it always felt like an eternity and yesterday at the same time, in between hearing Kevin, or sensing him. He liked thinking about it. That Hugo gave him a reason to think about it again.
With that, they let go of their thoughts, welcoming the comforting silence that drew them together, dozing off into the tall green grass as the sunnier than usual sun lulled them away.