2014 – December 22 – The End

Dog in elf costume

It beats the shelter.

It’s the 22nd, time to read “The End” by Margaret Bingel.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “Walking toward the warming sun has such a beautiful glow.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Nadia is sleeping next to her owner, kicking her legs as she dreams.

Ned, on the other hand, is wide awake, tapping his fingers to a tense rhythm.

Tap Tap Tap. His fingers march across his chest, like little toy soldiers.

Souvenir book cover

The Small Struggle.

The Small Struggle has been a rewarding read. We started out with a troubled man, smothered by his mother’s love, friendless, hopeless, about to do something destructive, likely to the children walking past his home. He slipped, suffered a concussion, a coma, came back to us changed, but not really healed. And then he pushed away from his mother, adopted a dog from the shelter (a dog much like himself in a way), and the dog led to a friend, and a friend led to new understanding of his relationship with his mother. Last month, Ned found the fortitude to celebrate Thanksgiving without his mother. It was a big step for him, an emotional risk, and we did not know where it would lead.

I’m happy to report that Ned seems on a better path now. He has structure that allows him to take care of someone rather than always being taken care of; he has a social network that gets him out of his head, but most of all he has Nadia, the dog he rescued, the dog that rescued him.

Ned reaches out to pet Nadia’s back, her kicks dying with each stroke. He has set up a small tree on the floor for her to sleep under, and on Christmas morning he’s going to hide dog treats in the branches. He found little candy cane-shaped snacks that he can’t wait to feed her. He bought her a little hat too, which he rotates with the antlers and elf ears he makes her wear on their daily walks. Ned thinks it makes Nadia look more endearing, more lovable than she already is. She is such a good dog.

Read the end of this terrifically engaging installment and you’ll see just how much Ned needs Nadia in his life. He probably always has. It’s all too easy to get lost within ourselves. Sometimes the answer is to find someone or something to draw our attention out. Ned truly is a new Ned now, and we are glad.

#pureslush2014

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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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