The dog had been Dave's idea. Funny how it went. She'd put her foot down, thinking of the mud, hairs on the sofa, slobber on her best skirts. Of mad women who shouted at their cowering dogs in the street. Her refusal became one more resentment he hurled at her. Didn't she want him to be happy? Why did she always hold him back?
She sat on the sofa, now, Rex resting his head on her lap, drooling through some dream. The name had been Dave's idea, too. She was used to it, now. She tried Honey but Rex would have none of it. You couldn't change the past. She stroked Rex behind his ears and he flickered one eye open before dropping back to sleep with an exaggerated sigh. They'd got the dog but it hadn't been enough. Dave found other resentments. Other things to hurl. She found the strength to tell him to leave. Changed the locks, changed her name back at least.
She picked up her book and began to read. A romance, the sort of book Dave would always tut at. Rex, by comparison, offered no opinions. She began to turn the pages while the light faded in the windows. The house gathered itself around her, the ticking of the clock only deepening the long, slow silence. There were curls of dog-hair on the arm of the sofa but she didn't see them.
There'd been two of them in the house, then three for a time, and now there were two again. Really, it had all worked out for the best.
12 September 2014