Jimmy and George

He moved to Roberts Creek, imagining himself in a cabin in the woods, plenty of time to read, to write, to think, to practice piano.  Anticipating loneliness,  he imagined a dog, even chose one from a shelter in Vancouver. But when the young attendant there suggested that he should take time off work to bond with the dog, he realized it might not be the right time for such a commitment. For one thing, he had just started the job.

Still, he wanted a companion. Already he felt the enormity of the forest surrounding his cabin. Heard the creaking of giant trees in the storm, the shifting of logs in the cabin itself. And there were mice.

George was a two-year old stray from northern BC. A fluffy, golden-eyed ginger Tom. Jimmy bought the cat box, the cat food. Agreed to keep George inside for two weeks, to ground him, and did so, though George sat worshipful at the cat door, as if it were an altar, Jimmy said. Peed on the carpet one day; to show his annoyance, Jimmy wondered? Caught mice, but did not finish the job. Preferred to sit alongside Jimmy while he read, or wrote, or played the piano. The mice were aware of George, though, and skittered nervously along once-safe pathways through the kitchen. Maybe his presence alone would be enough.

The weekend of George's parole happened to fall on a beautiful spring day. Jimmy tied a shoelace to George's collar, brought him out to the deck to enjoy the sun, smiled at George's confusion, then untied the shoelace. George was free! He padded through the garden, his little bell lightly jingling, returned to the porch, then, braver, began to explore the terrain of high grass and rock, and tree roots he had been gazing out towards for two weeks. When Jimmy called, he searched and found no sign of that proud ginger plume that had risen above the tall grass as George stalked, perhaps, insects. He ran to the neighbour's house, where a dog barked. Perhaps a dog that had seen or smelled George. Nothing. Would this be it then?

Having returned, worried,  he knelt down on the path that leads
from the gravel road beyond the cedars to the front deck of the cabin, this young man, not much more than a boy, and called again, and George came running, his little bell jingling, right into Jimmy's arms. The dream, if modified, intact.