Saturday, March 15, 2014

Without a Dog

Brooklyn, 1958.

I don’t know where my father is, but my mother and aunt live together in Bensonhurst and there’s eight kids between ‘em. My brother Alan is the oldest and I have a little sister Meg and another brother named Charlie. My aunt has four kids too. Her husband travels a lot on business.

When my father left my aunt invited us to live with her, but my mother told us it would just be for a little while. She’s trying to find a job but it’s hard because she doesn’t know how to do anything. You have to have experience in most jobs, and mostly what my mother does is being a mom.

My uncle says there are too many mouths to feed and that’s how I got here in the children’s home. I’m supposed to be here for a short time too, but it’s been two months so far. I wish my mother would just get any kind of job, like being a waitress, and we could move out and be home again.

I miss my two brothers and Meg but most of all, I miss our German Shepherd, Bucky. My mother gave him to our neighbor next door, and said it was “temporary.” But I’ve stopped believing that word. I think temporary pretty much means forever. And losing Bucky makes me cry. 

He would dash over to me when I got home from school and lick my face. He always slept on the rug in my room and sometimes I’d let him on the bed.

Never mind. Harriet tells me not to get sappy and talk about my past. I think she’s probably right, though sometimes I can’t help it.

I’m just telling you and no one else.

I’m also telling you that my mother wasn’t always like this, worried all the time and scared of her sister and even her own shadow. She used to play piano after dinner and we’d all gather round and sing. I thought my father loved her but he found another lady and ran off with her. By the time he realized the lady was a thief and called my mother, she told him to stay away from her.

Now I’m really scared because our money’s running out and I don’t want to stay in this children’s home forever. I told my mother the next time my father calls to let him come home. But he isn’t calling.

When I get older I’m never, ever going to get married or have children. I already know how to sing and I’m going to learn how to dance and join a chorus line. I’ll go from city to city and from town to town. If I make enough money I can buy a little house somewhere and invite my brothers and sisters. Maybe we’ll have a new dog that’ll look just like Bucky.

Now that I think about it, I need a different plan. I need to stay in one place so I can always have a German Shepherd. Life just isn’t any good without a dog.

Judy K.