weird, since she has been a constant in my life ever since my (now) ex-husband surprised me with her for my birthday 10 or so years ago. Yes, I know that this type of gift may be more functional than fun, but it (she) worked for me. Sometimes, she and I would visit multiple locations in a single day. I confess, there were other times I neglected her, but never for long now that the black hairs from my 65 pound Rottweiler form clumps in the corners of every room in the house.
On this particular day though, I could hear her, which was strange. She was gurgling from my 8-year-old Kevin’s room.
“Bev! Where are you?”
“Life sucks, Renee.” She seemed despondent.
“Bev, that doesn’t sound like you. Besides life is supposed to suck. That’s what you do. It’s who you are.”
“You don’t need me.”
“What the hell, Bev? I always need you! Didn’t I empty you out three times last Saturday? All that dog hair. And remember those Legos?” We both grimaced.
“You used to use me every day.”
“I still use you a lot and you know it. The boys aren’t as messy as they used to be, and Bailey isn’t shedding as much since the weather is cooling off. Plus I’m taking her to get those de-shedding baths, remember?”
“I just don’t feel well, Renee. Not at all. I don’t feel like myself anymore.”
“I’m sorry, Bev. I do need you though, and you know it. You’ve always been there for me.” I searched for the right thing to say. “I thought you would appreciate a break here and there.”
“You shoved me in Kevin’s room last week and left me there.”
“I didn’t mean anything by that, Bev. I have just been a little lax these days. I will work on that. Promise.”
We talked about her and me over the years. Us. She’s been my right hand girl at five different houses in the past 10 years. While others her age have passed on, she hasn’t stopped moving. She’s so strong and I had taken her for granted. I thought she was feeling better, when she coughed another gurgled cough.
“Bev, you don’t sound good. What the . . . ”
“Help me, Renee!”
I mashed down her “off” button but it wouldn’t work. I unplugged her. She groaned and nearly passed out.
I opened her up as I had done thousands of times over the years and other than some dirt and dog hair, the usuals, I saw nothing that would be causing her such distress.
“Further down.” Her voice was weak, almost a whisper.
“Hold on, Bev, hold on.”
I reached down into her and my hand skimmed over a crumpled paper. I pulled gently, and the paper ripped, but I pulled it out in three parts. I pieced together some of the words. “Welcome to the third grade. I am glad to be teaching your child this year . . . ”
“Oh great, so here is where that paper went. He needed it signed yesterday and we couldn’t find it.” It was nearly unrecognizable.
“There’s more,” she coughed.
“I moved my hand around some more and felt something else.
“Stay still, Bev. I’ve almost got it.”
I pulled out one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . five . . . six . . . seven Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers. A record.
“Bev, how did these get in here?”
“The younger one . . . he . . . did this.”
“Kevin? When was this?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t think I would feel this bad, Renee. And I didn’t want him to get in trouble. He’s kind of cute.”
“Well, you just ate seven Reese’s cup wrappers and a ‘welcome back to school’ form, Bev. That’s not good for anyone.” I pulled something else out of her. Another wrapper.
“Make that eight.”