Story blog

Carolina and God

Posted in Uncategorized by Amy on 06/05/2009

Our front door is heavy and God just got out between the gap before it swung shut with a clunk and I didn’t bother to double-lock.

‘Come on God,’ I said, ‘We’re going for a walk.’

It was cold and I thought how right I’d been to wear my gloves as I left the drive, God following at my feet.

On to the street, we walked past the bus stop where there was a teenage girl waiting in a very short skirt and I felt cold looking at her and I looked away. As we walked, God started playing a game, running a few paces ahead, then waiting for me to catch up.

Everyone had told me it was a silly name for a cocker spaniel. Especially Richard. He was the worst. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, darling,’ he’d said, staring down at his jumper as he talked, looking for imaginary lint.

But I didn’t care. I loved my little God and I could call her whatever I wanted, and everyone else could go to hell.

We trudged along, God and I, under an upside-down carpet of cloud. She was so good, you know. She always kept up, jiggling like a belly-dancer, little legs skipping along. I would never slow down for her. Puppies may seem soft and needy, but you only need to be a little bit tough and their doughy hearts turn into the hardest diamond, flushed full of blood and stronger every day.

I’d found her at the pound 3 weeks before, and since then we’d walked a little further every day, but this would be our longest walk yet.

Richard never got home till gone seven, so we had all the time in the world. Just as I was thinking of Richard’s arrival and picturing his face, a gust of wind hit us and she whimpered.

‘Come on, you,’ I said. ‘That’s a good girl.’

We walked past the old Sunday school and the playground that reminded me of my own school, in a different town in a different time. Before perfectly-aligned cutlery and no split infinitives.

We walked past the post office with the nice Turkish lady and the old man who always smelled of soap, but we didn’t go in this time.

We walked past the furniture shop with the sign in the window that said ‘Closing down sale – FINAL DAY!’ Five years, that sign had been in the window. But this time it really felt like the final day, and for the first time in five years, I stepped inside to have a look. I milled around, pretending to look for a bargain, but there was nothing worth getting and I saw the sales man coming at me so I quickly ducked back out again with God at my heels.

Back on the street, a drop of rain fell on my hand, then one in my hair, and in a matter of seconds it was gushing down, and it was wonderful. I love the rain and so does God, so we were happy as Larry, two wet peas in a pod.

As my duffel coat became heavy with absorbed rain water I had a sudden feeling that everything was going to be ok after all. And as I thought this I heard the words in my head: everything’s going to be alright.

We walked and walked and the rain stopped and I could smell the after-rain smell and it smelt like a fresh start.

We reached the town centre and went in to the station where I thought about getting a coffee but suddenly I wasn’t remotely thirsty. So we walked up to platform 9 and here I stopped and dropped my heavy, zip-up bag to the floor, and my shoulder muscles woke up and the air danced around them. I knelt down and reached into the front pocket and got out the ‘single with animals’ ticket I’d bought a week ago and showed it to the ticket inspector.

Then I picked up my bag and we got on the train, and I put my bag in the overhead compartment. And I picked up God and held her on my lap and I thought about Richard coming home with his collar flapping and him fiddling with the key in the lock, and then coming in, and switching his work shoes for his slippers, and picking up the paper, and I wondered how long it would be before he noticed the empty wardrobe and bookless shelves and the radio gone from the kitchen.

Someone shouted ‘all aboard!’ and the train started moving and as the breeze crept in through the air vent I breathed 5 wasted years out of my lungs and I rubbed God’s back and my heart was singing.

We were going home.

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