There is a fresh breeze coming from the water and the sand under my paws feels warm. The rocks are glistening in the sunlight.
There is no else on the beach. Our companions are holding hands and smile at each other. Seamus heads straight for the sea.
Our companion throws the first ball and Eivor catches it. I am barking with excitement and catch the second ball.
A woman in a long skirt and a flowery shirt comes walking towards us. “They’re having fun,” says the woman. “Do you mind if I say hello to them?”
“Not at all,” says our companion.
Seamus trots over to the woman and sniffs her hand. The woman bends down and gently strokes the top of his head.
“What a sweet auld mannie. How old is he?”
“Thirteen,” says our companion.
A sudden sadness dims the light in the woman’s eyes. “It’s so hard when they’re that age, isn’t it?” says the woman. “You don’t know how much longer they’ve got and you start to worry about how and when you’re going to lose them.”
“We treasure every moment together and we know there will come a time when he is ready to go. We are so grateful for all the time we have had already. You know what they say about larger breeds ..”
“Yes,” says the woman. “The larger the dog, the shorter the life span. I lost my Izzy two years ago, she was thirteen.”
“What kind of a dog was she?”
“She was a whippet-lurcher cross,” says the woman. “Here, look …”
She opens the silver locket on her necklace. In the left half is a photograph of a friendly dog’s face with warm brown eyes.
“I’ve kept some of her fur,” she says, stroking the glass on the right half of the locket. A small tuft of brown and grey fur is squeezed behind it.
“She was my best pal. I could tell her anything and she’d always understand. My friends are getting bored with me going on and on about her and tell me I should move on. At first they thought it was just a natural phase but now they say I may need some help.”
I walk over to the woman and touch her leg with my paw. My nose touches hers when she leans forward to stroke me. Izzy’s face appears to the right of her.
“Can you ask her to let me go?” says Izzy. “I want to run free. I want to make room for a new dog to come into her life.”
I look deep into the woman’s eyes. Izzy does not want to see you like this dear friend. She will be happy for you to welcome a new dog into your life.
“You have a way of looking straight into my soul sweet lady,” says the woman. She lets out a deep sigh.
“We lost one of our dogs six months ago,” says our companion. “Then one night she came to me in a dream and told me how happy she was. She said she wanted us to set her free. She showed me where she wanted to be. We took her ashes and scattered them in her special place. For a fleeting moment they formed the shape of a running greyhound. It was very special.”
I remember it very well. We could all feel her presence. I have never met Ruby in real life, yet that day I felt as if I had always known her. It felt as if there was an angel in our midst.
I look at the woman again.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about,” she says. “I know just the place where I can set Izzy free. It’s on her favourite walk where the river meets the sea.”
“That sounds like the perfect place for her,” says our companion. “And you will know when the time is right.”
“Yes, I know, thank you. I think it is time to start a new phase in my life.”
I send you all so much love,
Daily Prompt: Phase