“Go away!” Tommy looked at the pitiful creature in front of him. “You are dirty and have awful fleas. If you think, I am going to share my sandwich with you. You are wrong.” The dog sat down and looked at the boy in front of her sadly. “Go away I said.”
Tommy kicked at her and sand went flying. The dog hung her head low and walked away sadly.
“Come here, girl.” Taylor held out his hand with a chunk of bread. The dog approached him cautiously. Sniffing the bread, she took it quickly from his hand and devoured it. Taylor continued to feed her as the bell sounded for him to return to class. Groups of kids headed back to the building. Taylor looked sadly at his new hound of a friend. This was a fine dog; he smiled to himself as he scratched her behind the ear. He emptied out the remaining of his potato chips to the ground as she ate them up quickly. Taylor went back to his class and sat obediently at his desk. He couldn’t quite concentrate on what his teacher was saying. Fifth grade grammar was boring anyway he thought. How could he this was a sign from God. Just the other day he prayed for a dog. He just didn’t realize it would come in the form of a starving stray on the playground.
Watching each minute tick by it seemed as though school would not end quick enough. Summer was quickly approaching. Besides, his dog was out there and probably desperate for a drink of water. Desperate to go home and ask his mama he began to search frantically. Running to the playground there he stood. The biggest bully in school and Jacob was his name. Taylor swallowed hard as he saw Jacob standing there with a large stick. Something just snapped in Taylor as he ran over to Jacob whom was about to hit the dog.
“Don’t hit my dog.” Taylor yelled ferociously. “If you hit her I will clobber you Jacob and make you eat worms.”
Jacob lowered the stick. He looked over at Taylor who was staring back madder than a hornet. Quickly he jumped on his bike and headed off into the opposite direction. Taylor went over to his new friend who was shaking and on the ground. The dog was scared and all she could do was whine.
“It’s okay old girl. I will take care of you.” Taylor petted her gently. He noticed the fur was matted up and she was covered in pesky fleas. Taylor had to find a way to get her cleaned up. He knew if his mama saw the dog in this condition, she would say no for sure. Taylor hoped he could talk his mother into the dog. She seemed so sad as of lately since his dad died. Taylor sometimes would listen to her cry in her room at night. He knew she tried so hard to be happy in front of Taylor. Taylor just knew this gift would make her happy. His mama loved dogs.
He called the dog to follow him home and the chocolate brown-eyed creature followed obediently. When Taylor arrived home, he left the dog on the back porch. He opened the door and saw his mama sitting at the table sipping iced tea and reading a magazine. She looked up to see him coming in the door.
“How was school today?”
“Taylor, got any homework?”
Taylor hurried to his room and changed into his play clothes. Changing his clothes, he suddenly remembered his mother’s lecture about clothes on the floor. He picked them up slam-dunking them into the hamper.
“Score,” he let out a loud whoop. He gave a smile of champions as he headed out the door. He passed by mama quickly so she wouldn’t think there was anything going on with him. He was terrible at keeping secrets especially from mama.
“Don’t slam the screen door.” The door thudded against the frame.
“Sorry Mama,” Taylor answered back over his shoulders.
Taylor went over to the big oak tree that was in the corner of the lawn. The dog had found a place in the shade to rest. Taylor looked at her thinking she needed a name. A proper dog would have a name. Running through several names he decided on the name Dixie. That was as fine a girl’s name as he could think of. “Dixie come here”
The dog looked up at him and quickly laid her head down.
“What’cha doing?” A voice startled him.
“Hey Krys, I am trying to find a name for my dog. She doesn’t like the name Dixie.”
Krys pulled off her ball cap letting her ponytail fall down to her shoulders. She petted the dog on the head.
“Oh Taylor this is a fine dog. You should call her Daisy.”
“Daisy, that is a silly name.” He wrinkled his nose at Krys.
“Taylor, you take that back.” She squared her shoulders ready for a fight. Krys walked to the middle of the yard and called the name Daisy to the dog. The dog jumped up on cue and ran over to Krys excitedly.
“See I told you so!” Krys couldn’t wait to prove herself right.
“Fine, then Daisy it is.” Taylor rolled his eyes in disgust. “It just figures, females are fickle.”
Taylor walked over to the water hose and prepared to fill an old bucket with water. He could see Krys on the lawn playing with Daisy. Krystal was his best friend and had been since Kindergarten. He strangely started to notice the way lately her eyes would twinkle when she would smile at him even though she was nothing but a yucky old girl.
Krys led the dog over to the hose. “Taylor, can I help give Daisy a bath.”
“Sure Krys,” He took an old sponge out of the bucket. Krys shook her head.
“Taylor you got any soap. She needs soap and a brush and some towels.” Taylor sighed as he realized this was going to be a bit difficult since his mother was right inside.
“I don’t want mama finding out. So you go in the back door and I will sneak around the front. You keep mama talking so I can get what we need for Daisy.”
“Krys, I like your hair in a ponytail. It looks nice.”
Krystal blushed and said a quick thank you. She went in the back door to talk to Taylor’s mama. Taylor felt like a secret spy. He snuck around the house and into the front door quietly. He could hear voices coming from the kitchen. He knew Krys was talking to mama.
He went to the bathroom opening the cabinet he saw all of mama’s soap and perfumes. He opened the lid of one and it smelled like roses. No way would his dog smell like that. He already had to call her Daisy. He looked around and found a bar of soap that said mountain scented. He tucked that in his front pocket. He also found a large bottle of perfume. It smelled funny but maybe his mama would like the way the dog smelled and would not make him get rid of her. He sneaked back out the door with all his supplies and waited for Krys. When Krys came back outside, they began to bathe and perfume the dog up. Taylor looked at Krys in the sunshine. She seemed to have a glow about her. What was happening to him? He felt funny all of a sudden. He felt as though he wanted to kiss her. He quickly kept paying attention to his dog. All a twelve year old needed was his dog. Nothing else mattered in the world. Krystal looked at him wondering what he was thinking. She noticed he was acting silly these days.
“Are you alright, Taylor?”
“Yep, just ready to finish Daisy up so I can introduce her to mama.”
Taylor kept on drying Daisy as Krys sat against the tree. When the dog was dry, Krys looked at Taylor who had come and sat beside her.
“She really is a pretty dog, Taylor.”
“Krys, would you like to share a soda with me. I have one left.”
Taylor left in to the house to grab his last soda. Mama was still reading her article. She looked up from her magazine. “What are you doing?”
“I am going to share a soda with Krys. Mama can you come outside for a minute? I have a surprise for you.” Mama stood up from her chair and followed him out the door. Krystal had taken the red ribbon from her hair and tied it around Daisy’s neck. Her hair was blowing wildly in the wind. Taylor smiled at how pretty Krys looked. Krys smiled strangely back. Daisy ran and jumped up on mama.
“Mama she is a stray from school. Can we keep her? We gave her a bath and she smells good.”
“Goodness Taylor what did you bathe her with she smells like flowers.”
Taylor pulled the bottle from his pocket. He handed her the perfume.
“Taylor! You bathed her in that ninety-five dollar perfume. Your grandmother gave that to me for Christmas.” Mama looked at the dog and smiled. She should be angry but the kids were looking at her excitedly.
“Okay you can keep her. I will fix her up some food and water in the house. What is her name?”
Taylor smiled. “Her name is Daisy.”
“Well she certainly smells like a field of daisies.” Mama called Daisy inside for her food and water. Krys took a long drink of soda. Taylor smiled as he watched her drink. She handed him the bottle. He waited a moment and taking her by the hand. He leaned in kissing her on the cheek. Krystal’s cheeks blushed and she took off running and giggling leaving her baseball cap behind. Taylor smiled and ran in the house. He knew that Krys would be back for her ball cap.
Krystal smiled while she sat next to Taylor. She looked into his aging eyes.
“Taylor, do you think those kids really care about the way we fell in love.”
He smiled at his wife of fifty years. “Well who would have ever thought that my three loves in the whole wide world were my mama, my dog and you.” Taylor kissed her gently.
Krystal laughed softly. “It figures a man is not so complicated after all.