When I first met Carol, I thought she didn't have any friends, because she was dying to talk everytime I passed her in the park. But it seems that Miss Carol has made quite a few friends in our apartment complex.
We sat at the picnic table at our park yesterday evening, and Carol brought more pictures. Pictures of her "animal kids" as she calls them, including a pet Ball Python named Rex. And her parrot Pebbles, and her parakeet, Oscar, and of course Misty. It's been almost two weeks since Carol had Misty put to sleep. Pebbles is the only animal child left. Carol has always told me that she used to be fat, but since she never eats or drinks anymore because of her PTSD, she'd lost over 100 pounds. It was always hard for me to believe until I saw the pictures yesterday. It's true. She was hardly recognizable. And then, there was a picture of a pretty middle aged blonde woman playing with Pebbles. I inquired who she was. Carol said that used to be her best friend when she lived in the house. They lived on the same cul-de-sac. But she was dead now. Her husband killed her. That was a little harder to believe....
As I looked at the pictures, Carol was busy talking with friends. She jumped up to go see Jackie. Melody came over to say hi. But Carol was quick to point out those I shouldn't trust. She informed me of the troubled kids running around. She pointed out one of their mothers and told me of how this woman would stand on the street corner at night and get into men's cars.
One Indian woman, in regular street clothes rather than the traditional Indian garb, who introduced herself as "Z", came over while her four-year-old grandson played on the playground. Speaking through a thick accent, she told Carol of how sorry she was that Misty had passed away. That she knew how hard it was to watch a loved one suffer. Z remembered the time when her father was bedridden for years and had to care for him. It was hard to watch, Z said. She suddenly stopped talking as her eyes filled with tears. Carol immediately stood and hugged her. I watched as Carol comforted this older woman. Then Z told Carol that Misty was with Jesus. Now whether or not you believe the spirit of dogs experience life after death, is inconsequential. The thing I found odd, that took me by surprise, was that this Indian woman believed in Jesus. Did she really, I wondered, or was she just saying that?
Carol sat back down, and we all continued to talk for a few minutes. As Z said goodbye she reached down to touch Carol's face, the way a mother does to a daugher, and told her it was good to have friends like me. Z looked over knowingly, almost as if she knew my insecurities, like she could read my mind. And somehow, without saying anything, assured me to keep loving Carol.
I know, it's so strange, and sounds like maybe I'm imagining things. But seriously, it was weird. And I really can't ignore it.
/To be continued/