The deep voice coming up out of the stairwell startled me this morning - Tom and Kendall were still asleep. No one else was home. Who could it be? But before I even had a chance to throw a butcher knife or something, Daniel's head (smiling face), then shoulders, then the rest of him appeared coming up the stairs.
Last night, one of his high school friends had picked him up from UT - a group of them had gotten together for dinner. But none of them was headed back into Austin until this evening, so they dropped him off at home late last night (he said he crept in quietly so Dad didn't come out with a shotgun or something, thinking he was a prowler!) I had him until about 6pm today and it was really, really nice, especially after yesterday, a day full of gray clouds, gray thoughts and teenage drama. Blah! He really did feel like a ray of sunshine. Granted, today was a sunny day anyway, but he still made it even brighter.
Which was a good thing, because Charly, our old yellow lab, wouldn't eat this morning. He's been eating less and less, but this morning he didn't even come when I called, just stayed curled up in a warm spot in the woods. I even took his pan to him, but he still wasn't interested, so I just rubbed his belly and his ears and talked baby talk to him.
Right before sunset I headed off for a walk. I didn't expect him to come, but he did...very enthusiastically, even. But he stopped before we got to the curve and just waited, standing in the middle of the road, for me, Max, and Frankie to return.
I'm worried about him, but I realize he'll be thirteen next month - pretty old for a lab. I've got to accept the fact that we aren't going to have him forever. The great thing is I'll always have the memories of him, like of this afternoon...walking along the caliche road with him, Max, and Frankie...no leashes, just friends walking together...a glorious sunset sending colorful streaks through the sky above us.