Ouchie

A little over two years ago, I told Ethan (not long after my Yorkie had a minor surgery), “Be careful with Wensley, please. He has an ouchie and it really hurts him.”

“I know that,” Ethan said. “That’s why it is called an ‘ouchie’.”

Note to self: don’t explain child language to a child.

It just popped into my mind today and that seems fitting. We have a new puppy and he’s a delight and I’m so grateful that he has provided a counter balance to the loneliness Ethan is feeling as an only child sheltering in place. But I still miss my dog. I miss him every day.  It’s an ouchie. And as the name alludes, it hurts. It hurts, real bad.

The thing is: I feel him. I feel that he is near me, sometimes. Especially in the night hours, I feel him at the foot of my bed. Sometimes I feel a motion that could be him and I write it off as Matt, shifting his feet around. But sometimes I feel it even after Matt is up, or when he has gone to sleep on the couch on a restless night. And I have thought, “Wensley is here; he is near me, now…”

Last weekend I googled, “can you learn to see ghosts?” I’ve met women who claim to see them and who have seemed sincere. I am a bit of a skeptic, but sometimes I wonder… maybe? What if energy decides to linger before it converts? I don’t know. I haven’t really wanted it to fall on one side or the other. Until now.

As you have probably already guessed, my google search wasn’t particularly helpful. Which is to say, it didn’t tell me how to check in with Wensley and ask if he is okay. If he blames me for deciding it was his time to go. I felt so silly for googling it, I did something I never do, which was delete my cache. (Not that it matters; I guess the deep state Knows, now.)

I felt it again last night. Something like the slight disturbance Wensley would make when he would do a deep stretch on the foot of the bed, late at night, and then fall immediately bad to sleep. It made my heart warm just a little to think he’s still here watching after me. However irrational that seems.

But then, a few hours ago, it hit me. It isn’t a presence I’m feeling. It is something more akin to phantom limb syndrome. Clearly my brain isn’t ready to let him go.

Am I saying I have decided there are no spirits? No. I don’t know what is out there. I’m just feeling the loss of my companion again today. And it hurts. It hurts, real bad.

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and new stepparent. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my Yorkshire terrier, Wensleydale Doggiepants. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: rachelclewis.com @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

2 responses to “Ouchie

  1. Gina

    I loved this. It’s okay to feel him near you. There doesn’t have to be an explanation. Just snuggle into it when it happens. Think Toni Morrison.xoxo

  2. Rachel, I had a dog that did this for me. He died over three years ago. Sometimes I still think I can smell his breath. And the energy thing. My theory for the dead (human and canine). We need to discuss. xoxo

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