The night was giving way to the light of the day, signaling a shift in Daniel’s sobering mind inundated with freshness. The transition was healing. He felt crisp as a huge chunk of sadness had fallen off his heart, leaving him breathing with an ease he hadn’t felt in years.
Just a few hours ago, when he said goodbye to Charlene, things seemed amazingly different than what they looked like this early Saturday morning.
But the night took the better of him or so he thought, initially; he had to surrender to the pressure, unused to the tenderness that broke down his shell.
“It all started with that basset dog,” a thought crossed his mind. “And what about all these other dogs? How the heck did they manage to find their place in my life during one night out only?” he wondered.
It didn’t make sense to him that he started caring for dogs more than he ever thought possible.
As far as he remembered, Daniel hated dogs. But not this one. Not Isaac. Isaac took him by surprise – he almost captured his heart, at least that is how Daniel felt at the moment.
He felt better, much better than he had felt in a long time.
The last couple of hours weren’t as easy, though. He felt like he went through hell.
Although they agreed with Charlene to catch up on the new developments in the dog’s stories on Monday, when he left the vet’s clinic, Daniel felt alone and broken. His usual solid demeanor couldn’t hold much longer.
Isaac and Shark followed his footsteps cautiously, as they were hoping the human would give them some good news about their beloved mentor’s health and wellbeing.
The basset and the corgi couldn’t get any information through the window of the vet clinic. They could just stare at Marshall’s exhausted body that was lying there helpless, breathing heavily. That is why they followed Daniel, hoping that he would enlighten them somehow. But the human looked all but hopeful.
On his way from the clinic to his apartment, Daniel started crying and he couldn’t stop for more than two hours. He sobbed uncontrollably.
He didn’t care why he cried, surrendering to the relief of the opening around his heart. The toughness didn’t feel as comfortable as before. He felt as his past behavior suffocated him. Instead of hardness, he started feeling more comfortable with soft-heartedness. The tears that ran down his cheeks were like those that showed up the day before, he just didn’t hate them now. They felt good so he gave up control and left them to do their job.
Isaac and Shark didn’t know that the human was healing.
Isaac sensed that something was happening with Daniel, that was his job. But he was too overwhelmed with Marshall’shealth to take deeper notice of the change taking place in Daniel’s behavior and personality.
Seeing that Daniel is withdrawn from the world, Isaac turned back to go back the vet’s place. Shark followed him in silence, as the devoted corgi understood that they will get nowhere with Daniel at the moment.
“Perhaps it’s better to hang around somewhere we can help”, thought Shark. He missed Marshall’s comforting words and the calmness of the vet’s boy he met tonight.
He missed the old days.
“Why is life so cruel? Why does it keep disappointing me over and over again?” he thought while they were slowly walking to James’ clinic, hoping to help their mentor get better. They needed him. And, above all, both Isaac and Shark felt guilty about the events that took place night.
“We must make things better, Isaac.”
“I know, dog. I know. Let’s stay by the window and wait for Marshall to open his eyes. Maybe we will be able to talk to him through the glass. We know how to do it silently, after all.”
They waited patiently.
James’ morning shift replacement was at the door. He picked up the boy who had fallen asleep next to Pixie and yawned as he headed towards the car.
“What a strange, tough night!” he thought. He hoped that the old pug would get better. But he didn’t have too much optimism, neither the strength to look the old dog companions in the eyes, worrying that they may notice the harsh truth in his tired, sad, powerless glare.