by Mia Leahy '23
The dim lighting made the restaurant feel cozy and rustic, the soft guitar music wafts in the pleasantly warm air just as the freshly baked bread is pulled out of the enormous oven. My burgundy wool sweater hangs off of my pale shoulders, feeling the grooves of the dark oak table I contemplate the transition from fall to winter. I stand up feeling the black leather of the booth cling to me as if my departure pained it. The frigid air of the almost winter night penetrates my skin. Silvery flakes drifted downward, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird soared. A meager shadow floats by the peeling brick of the restaurant I had just sorrowfully parted with. The faintest whimper comes from the hidden figure as I pace hesitantly toward it, wanting to uncover what might be buried from the bleak world. The feist studied me as I studied it. The puppy couldn’t have aged a full year but his mopey brown eyes told me this harsh life of neglect was all he has ever known. Softly cradling the dog I start my descent back to the house, frequently glancing down to see a wet, black nose poking out from my arms, I no longer feel the chill of the night. The soft yellow color of the house invites you in, but I hesitate in the finely trimmed brick walkway, trying to pull my thoughts to the light bundle sleeping in my burgundy sweater. I creep past the bristly welcome mat, gently treading into the living room, lit up by the colorful, flashing pictures displaying on the television. The dirty, beige recliner is dragged down by the weight of my husband, a slurred voice erupts, “What is that thing” his voice says with sheer disgust. My voice breaks as I say “Our new dog." I firmly clutch the dog closer to my rapidly beating heart. My silent plead falls to deaf ears, a series of snores originate from his chapped lips. The stairs violently creak, they were once a mighty tree which stood proud, a contrast to the current sagging boards that will reach their breaking point in the near future. In the bathroom I run lukewarm water over the mutt, feeling the stiff fur loosen, his pink tongue runs over my hand, our movements become intertwined. We sprawl onto the normally cold bed, feeling the heat radiate from each other’s bodies, our longing for warmth dissipated.