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Dog's Best Friend
written by: Noelle Powers
It’s strange to think I would never have lived if I hadn’t taken that left turn …
The path to redemption is narrow and murky. I don’t mean that metaphorically either. The life I was leading and the people I’d hurt—that’s what had led me to the woods that day. That’s what led me to you. I had planned to drown my sorrows and let my body waste away to oblivion. I staggered down the path my combat boots sinking ankle deep in the muck left behind from the recent rains. Somehow, I got turned around. It probably had something to do with the two eight balls I’d sampled after lifting them off my old man as he lay comatose in his old rugged recliner. Whatever the case I’ll never regret turning left instead of right. My emotional and physical state definitely present challenges when striving for certainty in this memory. I’ve come to terms with that because the details are not important. I recall the darkness closing in on me and my desire to be swallowed by the night. After that—who can say. It’s with the rising sun and the clarity that daybreak brings where our story truly began. I remember feeling the warmth of you pressed against my rib cage. When I sat up so did you. Your furry face and droopy brown eyes connected with mine. Reflected in you I saw the image of myself. Clearly, you’d been beaten down and misunderstood. I felt you’d done things you’d regretted too. No tags or collar to which they’d have been attached. No identifying information whatsoever. Only the neediness in your gaze and the unexplained trust I felt radiating off your body. When had someone last needed me? I couldn’t recall. Trust—that was something I’d never earned or certainly deserved but here you were none the less. I patted your matted head and felt your paw land gently on my leg. What I believed to have been the end was truly a new beginning.