The quiet should have been the first clue that something was wrong, but to be honest, since the kids grew up and moved on the house is often quiet. If I let myself I could get downright depressed thinking about how I miss the giggles of girls playing Barbies or the brrring motor sound that the boy made as he pushed his race cars across carpet. But most days I just go about the silence, listening to the voices in my own head and sometimes writing them down. So I’m kind of used to quiet.
Still. I should have known.
But I was busy. Mondays are wash days around here, if I’m home and not working on my next book, which is a rare thing, I admit, but I’m trying to stay busy. Trying not to start another book, not just yet. So I’d stripped the beds, and made six piles of the laundry. I was about halfway through those piles, having just put away some of Tim’s clean socks in his dresser drawer in the bonus room.
When we bought this house I made Tim promise me that he would get that bonus room finished that first year out. He promised. That’s all I”m saying about that a promise is a promise, right? It’s been six years and it’s still not sheetrocked. Don’t get me started. You know why they call it a bonus room, don’t you? It’s because in order to get the room finished you need a bonus check from work ’cause your husband ain’t never going to finish it. You’ll have to hire it down. That’s why it’s called a bonus room. The bonus doesn’t refer to the extra space but to the extra dollars it’s gonna cost.
I went to the guest bedroom and put the sheets back on that bed, then I heard something. A quiet more errie than usual, emmanating from the bonus room.
“Poe?” I called out. “Where are you?”
I walked back down the hallway and saw him there. Just. Like. This.
That hung-dog-look of his means that he knew he wasn’t supposed to do what he just did but by golly he just couldn’t help himself. Could. Not. Resist. The. Temptation.
My yelping at him broke the silent treatment I’ve been giving him since he broke into the frig the other night.
Everyone in the family thought I was nuts when I suggested we name the new puppy after that manical writer, Edgar Allen Poe. Obviously the dog is beginning to live up to his name. I had a quick flash of literary recall in that hot moment of madness following my discovery. It was a quote from the Tell-Tale Heart by E. A. Poe: “I was never kinder to the old dog than during the whole week before I killed him.“
Okay. So E. A. didn’t really use the word dog. That’s my substitution, but it’s fitting all the same.