She sat at the table holding the letter. She knew that handwriting well. It was a letter from her mom. She loved those letters as they kept her up with all that was going on so very far away. Even as they brought a few tears of loneliness and despair. This isn't what she had dreamed of.
Picking the smoldering cigarette up from the ashtray she took a long drag. Feeling the burn she exhaled slowly. Grey blue smoke filled the air around her head burning her eyes. Snubbing the cigarette out she tore open the letter. She loved that her mother wrote out every detail of what her family was up to. She had always been so close to her family in all ways. They had always helped and supported each other. She wondered how they would act if they knew what she had gotten herself into. Carefully she refolded the letter and returned it to its envelope. Standing she carried the letter to the other room where the box waited. Placing the letter on top of the others she closed the lid. She knew she would return to read this again, several times. For now, it was safe.
Closing the door behind her she crossed the living room of the trailer they were currently inhabiting. It wasn't a bad mobile home. It had been well maintained. The neighborhood wasn't bad. The lady that owned the place was very friendly but made it a point that her property was to be respected. She liked that in a person. She watched as her small mixed breed dog danced at her feet. Precious wanted to go out and play. She had never really cared for small dogs but this one was special. Opening the door she walked out with the dog. Sitting down on the front step she lit another cigarette as she sat watching. Precious ran around in circles, chased a rogue leaf and pounced on passing bugs. Her longish coat blowing about her as she ran, the white color of her coat almost blinding in its purity. She knew that no matter how long this dog played out here she wouldn't get dirty. Precious was just too prissy for that. It was funny how She had come about getting this dog. A relative that was anger at her had a dog that had the litter of pups that Precious came out of. She was trying to find them homes but was having no luck. A mutual friend got Precious and presented the pup to She as a gift. It was love at first sight. Precious was all the things a pet should be. Finishing the cigarette she flipped it out into the gravel drive and called to the dog. She smiled as the young dog ran across the grass and jumped up into her lap. This was unconditional love. This was the pup that let her know when it was bedtime. This was the friend who snuggled close when emotions ran high. This was the friend who was here, always nearby when She was at her most lonely. Hugging the pup close She smiled. Standing up holding the dog She turned and entered the mobile home.
After her bath Precious curled up in the corner of the couch to sleep. She shook her head and moved to finish cleaning the kitchen, a chore she had started before the mail had been delivered. At the sound of footsteps she cringed but kept her hands in the dishwater. It hid their trembling. She listened as he crossed the room, stopping at the table where his hard hat, lunch and extra pack of cigarettes rested. He didn't say much as he picked them up and turned to go. She wondered how long he would work this job before something happened. He seemed impressively good at managing to get injured. She kept her eyes to the dishes as he left, relaxing only when she heard the door close. Finishing the kitchen She hung the dishtowel to dry. Reaching out she tapped a cigarette from the pack and lit it. Inhaling the toxic smoke she felt the sting, exhaling she crossed the room to where her few remaining drawing pencils and sketch pad rested. As She passed she glanced toward the couch, Precious wasn't there. Calling the dog She waited to hear her slight footsteps sounding through the mobile home. When the dog didn't come She grew worried. Opening the door She searched the yard. Calling to the dog, first expectantly then fearfully. Jumping the outside steps She began to search the mobile home park. Around the trailers, around the retaining pond, under the steps of the apartments, calling the dog frantically.
Hurrying across the drive She walked up the entrance road to the main road. She ignored the heavy traffic as she walked along the roadway, going nearly into the small town they lived near. Crossing the road She began her walk back. Still calling the dog as she walked, fear becoming dread. She was almost back to the entrance road when she saw her. Precious lay crumpled at the side of the road. The pup had followed Him out, chasing after him wanting to play. Now Precious lay dead. She hadn't cried in a long time, seeing her friend dead broke the dam that held them back. Slowly and carefully She picked up the broken body. There were no wounds, no blood or broken bones protruding. It must have been a glancing blow, but one that killed her none the less. Precious had depended on her to keep her safe, and She had failed. Holding the body close She stood and walked the remaining way back. Tears flowing unchecked. He would have to bury Precious when he returned, She would not be able to do this..
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