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She and her husband had become strangers. Would God answer her prayers for a reconciliation?
“I was thinking of picking up some takeout on the way home,” Doug said during one of his check-ins. “Does Chinese sound good to you?”
“It’s been ages since we’ve had Chinese,” I said. “It’ll be good not to cook. I had a crazy day.”
I told Doug about a problem at work, and the movie I wanted to be sure not to miss on TV that night. When I hung up I noticed Bucky nosing his way around the laundry door. That’s when I realized–Doug had forgotten to ask about him.
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When Doug got home he changed into his bike clothes. But instead of running out the door, he stopped off by the laundry room to play with Bucky. “Do you think he’s getting fatter?” he said.
“Not with all the hopping he does,” I said. “He’s in training.”
It got to be a routine. Doug still rode his bike after work, but not before he’d played with Bucky and chatted with me about my day. One evening Doug forgot to shut the laundry room door behind him. Bucky shot out like a flash. “Get him!” Doug said.
I tried to head Bucky off. He dashed into the family room and raked his paws on the carpet.
I bent down to pick him up, but he dodged out of my hands and ran into the living room. Doug and I ran around like guards on a basketball court. Bucky zigzagged between us. Doug almost got him by the couch, but Bucky veered into the soot-filled fireplace.
When he hopped off again across the living room he left little black footprints everywhere he went. Doug and I laughed so hard we couldn’t even get near him. Bucky seemed to know he was winning. He leapt up in the air, twisting like a corkscrew in sheer delight, which just made us laugh all the harder.
Finally we managed to corral the little devil back into the laundry room. He flopped over on his side, exhausted, happy and gray from the soot. Doug and I leaned against the door, breathing hard. “I can skip my bike ride tonight,” Doug said. “I’ve already had my workout.”
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“You know what we have to do now,” I said. “Give him a bath.”
Bucky was a little confused at first, but soon figured out he enjoyed sitting in the sink while I poured warm water over his fur and Doug lathered him with soap. I felt a gentle touch on my arm. It was Doug with the soap.
“Bucky’s not the only one covered in soot,” he said, wiping a smudge away. The touch sent me back in time, to a perfect day at the beach, many years ago, Doug brushing sand off my back.
Did Doug miss how we used to be too? I wanted to ask, but we’d been estranged so long I didn’t know how. Sometimes it seemed like the only thing I knew how to do was fight.
A few nights later Doug came home with some new light for his bike. I didn’t think he needed it and started a silly argument. It wasn’t really about the bike. It was about months of frustration. “You never listen to me!” I said. “You don’t let me talk. You just don’t care anymore and neither do I!”
I stormed off to bed in tears. God, my marriage really is slipping away. I don’t know what to do. Was there anything that could save us? I lay on the bed facing the wall.
The bedroom door opened and Doug came in. I felt his weight as he sat on the bed. When I turned to look at him I saw he had something in his arms. A little black-and-white bundle. Bucky. Doug stroked his fur and held him out to me like a peace offering.