The Domiciles Project



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The Reunion
“What's that – I hear a car coming! I haven't heard that car in a while. Gotta tell my friend he's coming, he'll be so surprised!” The old dog runs upstairs and puts his cold nose in his fellow's hand. He doesn't jump anymore, the beagle has learned how to do a gentle nudge so not to startle her companion. He was only gone for a year, but the dog noticed a difference. Wolf, mongrel or purebred, dogs understand instincts, animals are naturally aware of such things. Man's instincts can become diminished by social etiquette and conformity. Etiquette goes out the window in harsher situations where instincts are needed to survive. Animals can also be naturally compassionate, and this loyal canine is a natural.
“Come downstairs and see who is here!” she encouraged quietly. “What is it girl?” he inquired, then he heard the old Ford too. He grabbed his cane and tapped his way toward the front door. “I'm right behind you Belle”. Belle's tail couldn't wag any faster, Tom felt the breeze as she turned around to bounce downstairs. She sat and looked at the door waiting for the footfalls. As Tom descended the last few steps, Jessie climbed the steps on the porch. The smile on his face was huge. All Tom needed to see was the shadow knocking; and he knew who was there. It's hard to forget the man who saved his life.
The last time Tom saw Jessie clearly was chaos; a blast of light, shrapnel flying and arms that grabbed him and pulled him to safety. Tom lost his sight, Jessie lost his leg. There was a long period of recuperation for both of them. They went from casual acquaintances to solid advocates of independent living. Neither liked the word “handicapped”. They were inseparable troublemakers at the rehabilitation center. It was bitter sweet when they both were able to get their own place.
Tom opened the door. “You're a sight for sore eyes!” he laughed and hugged him strongly. “Come on in, we have a lot of catching up to do.” Jessie stopped to greet Belle, who was patiently waiting for his attention. “Well my furry champion it's good to see you too”. Then Jessie watched as Tom maneuvered easily around his home. The friend was oddly grateful for the tragedy that threw them together. Strength, compassion, patience and love are necessary for triumph over fear, self-pity, revenge and hate, that's the lesson that Tom taught him. Which is how Tom saved Jessie’s' life.
Catherine Burns

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