I hear my Mom’s door open and she walks down the stairs to let the dog out for the night. I hear bottle clinking, ice cracking and the door closes and she walks up the stairs shutting her door. The music goes on, the sad music I know she stares at herself in the mirror while she listens and drinks.
I wonder if she brought the whole bottle. Usually she only brings the bottle upstairs for Dad because he gets clumsy walking back and forth up and down the stairs after a three drinks. Dad has fallen down the stairs. On the nights he doesn’t drink as much he has terrible dreams and yells out in his sleep and Mom comes into my bed and sleeps with me.
Maybe I could sleep with her tonight if she’s drunk enough and won’t notice I’m there.
The music goes off and I am sure she’s gone to sleep. No kisses for me good night. I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth even though no one reminds me.
Pulling the covers up and rolling over back in bed, alone in the dark, listening for Mom to get up and remember to say goodnight. I stare at the closet door, thinking about the pieces of the dinner plate and imagine Dad sleeping somewhere, curled up in the backseat drunk not missing me, not missing us, not missing Mom.
As I close my eyes and try to sleep I see Dad’s face that night he killed our other dog. Mom kept shouting at me to go to bed, don’t look at Dad because it’s not Dad. But I can see it’s Dad so I know it’s Dad. I didn’t like that dog because he always peed in my room and barked at me when I tried to play on the swing outside. Just because I didn’t like him doesn’t mean I wanted Dad to kill it. Won’t he feel badly? Won’t he be sorry? Isn’t it mean to kill a dog? I think, even though Mom tells me not to look, that he could do that to me too. Easy-peasy. He could do that to Mom and I know she understands this even though she stands really close to him trying to get him away from the dog as he kicks it around the yard screaming in the night.
Mrs. Schandler opens her back door and the porch light goes on and she yells she is calling the police. The police come. Dad gets taken away and stays away for several months and I don’t really miss him. Mom misses him and buried the dog all by herself behind the shed in a deep hole so the raccoons and foxes don’t dig it up.
Buster likes to lay over top of where the other dog is buried and I wonder if he knows about what is underneath him.