Lavina and Samuel were celebrating 40 years of wedded bliss.
More accurately Samuel was celebrating 40 years of wedded bliss. The last 10 had not been so blissful for Lavina.
10 years ago.. to this date, Samuel had brought home a puppy.
“Happy Anniversary Sweetheart" and handed her the little ball of fur that he had already named muffin. Lavina thought about that day as she stood over the stove serving Samuel his third helping of Stew. He was loving this stew. Just lapping it up bowl after bowl with a crusty roll and lots of butter. Streaks of the melting butter running down his face mixed with the thick gravy from the stew and coagulating on his chin. He spit out bits of the roll as he announced again. “Best damn stew you have ever made Vina, you really outdid yourself this time. “
He slurped some of the beer from the chilled glass and wiped his face with the back of his arm. Smearing bits of butter, gravy and beer foam up the sleeve of his freshly washed and ironed shirt. Lavina had worked most of the day preparing the house and his clothes and the meal. Specially for him.
“You not having any” he asked.
“No” she responded quickly and grinned at him. “I think the heat has put me off food today. “I made this specially for you anyway dear. You enjoy it.”
He looked past her to the rhubarb pie cooling on the counter then said. “You are too good to me Vina. You made my favorite pie and everything”.
40 years was a long time to be with someone these days and until that damn dog had been brought into the house they were very happy. Lavina and Samuel. At the young ages of 18 and 19 they promised till death do them part and Lavina meant it and would stick to her vows through good times and bad. 10 years ago was the start of the bad times. Lavina hated dogs. She couldn’t stand the site of them or the sounds they made and smell of them just about drove her round the bend. The little ones were the worst. Samuel knew this but he brought it home anyway under the guise of an Anniversary gift and presented it to her like it was the Hope Diamond. She made the appropriate sounds and thanked him. Put the puppy down on the floor and rushed to the sink to wash her hands .
Since that day the damn dog always came first in Samuel's life. He bought it beds. One for every room in the house. Mind you, the dog never slept in any of them. It was constantly in Samuel's lap, or in his arms as he carried it about. It sat in the front seat of the car while Lavina had been moved to the back. Not that she went out in the car anymore. Sitting behind that animal with its fur blowing around in the breeze flying into her face caused her to see red. And outfits. The dog had more outfits than she had. He even bought it little booties for the cold weather.
The dog didn’t think to highly of Lavina either. It would often growl at her as she walked by and more than once it had lunged at her and taken a nip at her leg and Samuel was always quick to defend the dog. Justifying its action. Seeming to have no concern for Lavina and the blood running down her calf.
Samuel never fed the dog table scraps though. The vet had said it was a strict no no and Samuel wanted his love to be healthy and happy.
Lavina was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of Samuel pushing his bowl away as he shoved the last bit of crusty roll drenched in gravy into his mouth.
He looked around the room and got up from his chair. He wandered out into the living room and she could hear him call. “Muffin… ….Muffin.. .…..here muffin. Where’s daddy’s baby hiding? Muffin??? Where are you girl??”
She heard the sound of his voice calling and fading as he wandered the house… room to room, calling his precious dog. There was silence for a few minutes and she imagined him confused and wondering about his dog.
She heard him behind her as he came back into the kitchen.
“Have you seen Muffin?” Samuel asked in a voice devoid of the enthusiasm it held when he ate the meal she had prepared just for him.
She turned, a look of concern on her face when she answered. “No dear. I haven’t, have you checked out in the yard? Maybe she ran out when you came in”
“I will go look” he answered and walked out to the back porch.
Lavina turned back to the sink and flushed the remaining stew down the waste disposal. A large grin pasted across her face.