Chloe misses her dad, my ex-roommate, Dustin. He moved most of his belongings out of the apartment yesterday but because he does not yet have utilities at his new apartment, he doesn’t want to bring Chloe there. She stays here while he sleeps at his girlfriend’s house. It’s just me and the dog here.
Have you ever seen consternation in a dog’s face? Chloe seems concerned. She stands and looks at the empty room that was Dustin’s and hers. She stands in the doorway staring, like she’s looking at a pile of cinder blocks after a tornado swept away her double-wide that used to sit upon them.
Chloe understands an array of words but she doesn’t know what “Dustin” means. Instead, she has come to know him as “your dad.” Come see your dad. Go see your dad. Where is your dad? Go bite your dad on the nuts. She understands “your dad” to mean Dustin.
It has probably been more than twenty-four hours since Chloe saw her dad. Another twenty-four hours might pass before she sees him again. Looking at her now, it seems that every hour that passes convinces Chloe that she will never see her dad again, that she’s my dog now, that I’m now “your dad.”
I frequently reassure Chloe that her dad is coming to pick her up and take her to a wonderful new house, a place with a backyard many times larger than the porch where she spends her days now. I tell her, “Your dad loves you and he’s coming to get you in a day or two.” I walk her and play with her and let her sleep in my bedroom–my room was always off limits before–and I tell her all about her dad’s new place.
Her ears perk up when I say “your dad.” Perky with hope, she still doesn’t know for sure he’s coming back for her. What would you think?