She Knew He Needed Her
(Listen to this piece in S2E35 of the podcast.)
Cosmic coincidence? Maybe. But Butter ended up under the bluff at midnight September 1998 the day before we buried Grannie. Just trotted right up to me, red collar loosened but still attached to her neck. I didn’t recognize her initially; passed a cold hand across my wet eyes like windshield wipers before the next wave of droplets clouded my view.
Butter stood still like she knew I needed to identify her from the lineup of things I’d lost over the years. A pet lizard at eight. My lucky socks at eleven. And now Grannie. I would have counted Butter in that number before that night, but she’d undisappearted herself after weeks of worry. Grannie’s and my countenance downcast because the nursing home didn’t allow pets. My parents didn’t want the responsibility, and Butter must have known when she ran away, saving us a trip to the animal shelter.
Butter sidled up to me after I gasped with recognition, with gratitude. I squeezed her in a bear hug, then laid my head into her matted fur. I’d go home after sunrise, and Butter would disappear herself again for the last time. But on that night, I thanked the God Grannie prayed to that though this cosmic hole wasn’t big enough to bring her back to me, I’d received a gift from a grannie who knew that I needed her.