Reggie sauntered out to the front yard, his eyes scanning the sidewalk in search of two particular faces. Granted it was a good ten minutes until the kids got out of school. It didn’t make the anticipation any easier to bear.
“So there you are,” called his neighbor Jack. Reggie walked to their favorite place to chat: at the fence under the old peach tree. Jack leaned against the fence, his own eyes glittering with laughter.
“Same time every day you come out to watch for those kids. Why not wait inside? It’s getting kind of chilly now.”
Reggie gave himself a good scratch behind his left ear, making a mental note to have the tiny itch checked out.
“You know Jack, those kids are the best things to have ever happened here.” He shook his head, trying not to let the sudden tears show. “I know it was rough when their parents died, but the day that letter showed up turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
“What letter was that?”
Reggie stopped short. “Didn’t I tell you about it? I could have sworn…”
Another good scratch behind his ear jogged his brain. “It was from the lawyer saying the kids were being sent to live here.” He sighed. “You know, they keep the both of us old things young.”
“I’m happy for ya Reg, really. Though I have to be honest. I dearly hope nothing like that ever happens to me.”
Reggie nodded. “I understand.”
They stood there for several minutes listening to the soft breeze stirring the leaves, enjoying a comfortable silence only the best of friends could manage. Jack was right, there was a distinct chill to the air. The opportunity to come outside and greet the children after school would dissipate as quickly as the warm weather. His old bones couldn’t handle cold anymore.
Laughter flitted down the street and Reggie caught the flash of a purple coat.
Jack pushed away from the fence. “That’s my cue. Have a good one, Reg.”
No sooner had the words left his mouth than all thoughts of his friend faded. At last, he thought even as two beloved faces came into view.
Reggie rushed up to the fence gate, anticipation lending wings to his aged feet. His heart overflowed with the love both Katelyn and Stephen had unknowingly brought with them.
“Katie, it’s Reggie,” six-year old Stephen cried out even as he rushed to close the thirty-foot gap.
“Hey boy,” Katie crooned, close behind her younger brother. “Did you miss us? Did you?”
Stephen unlatched the gate and pulled Reggie into a huge hug. Reggie could never resist the chance to cover anyone’s face in kisses. Stephen and Katie were no exception.
“Silly dog,” said Stephen as he wiped dog drool off his face.
As the three of them scampered up to the front porch, Reggie noticed his solitary friend Jack chewing on his favorite squeaky toy.
Ah!! I love this about "man's -- or boy's/kid's -- best friend." This is especially heart-warming. You've really captured a dog's personality... all else fades when their master comes into view! Really nice story AND writing!