Today, I am featuring guest blogger and super talented smart guy Gary Head. Gary has been working with youth and college students now for several years and is wickedly good at it. Gary and I have worked together on a number of projects, including a play that we will debuting early 2014. For now, he features the following story – a brilliant narrative on family and brokenness – I hope you enjoy!
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My dog Charlie ran away last night. When my dad got home, the back gate was slightly open, big enough for Charlie to get out and leave. I don’t know why he did it. I never understand when dogs run away. Yeah, I understand when the dog lives with a bad family or is neglected or abused, but my family has always treated our dogs well. We treated Charlie very well and we loved him. Of course, that’s when there was still a ‘we’ around at all. There really isn’t a family anymore. Now its just my dad and Charlie. Well, I guess now its just my dad.
Normally whenever Charlie gets out he comes back fairly soon. He only likes to go play for a little bit, sniffing out the strange smells of the neighborhood and exploring the other yards. But he didn’t really want to leave his family who fed him and loved him and scratched him in all his favorite spots. So he always came back.
But maybe Charlie hasn’t been getting that anymore. After all, I left for college awhile back, and mom left dad and now they’re getting a divorce. Maybe Charlie felt all this and could sense what was going on. Maybe he knew that his whole life was crumbling around him and he couldn’t do a thing about it. Maybe he even blamed himself. Where is boy? Where is mom? That dog loved my mom more than anyone or anything. He would follow her around all day just wanting to be with her. Maybe when she left he blamed himself. And now Charlie just stayed home alone, waiting for mom to come back, and boy and Dad too so the whole family could be together. But it never really happened. Occasionally he saw mom and every blue moon he saw the boy. Dad still lived at home, but he worked a lot and when he was home he always seemed real sad.
Maybe Charlie was just really sad and lonely. He didn’t really want to leave the place that had always been his home, but when that crack in the gate was there he couldn’t help but be pulled toward the possibility. What if he found mom and boy and could bring us back home and make dad happy again? Maybe he saw the open gate and all he knew was that he just wanted to be home again and that this wasn’t it anymore. So he ran and ran and ran.
Who knows, maybe Charlie found a new family tonight. Maybe he found a mom and a dad who love each other very much and a boy who wouldn’t go off to college until long after Charlie died so that he could have the attention he so desperately needed from us but we couldn’t give him anymore.
Or maybe he’s just out there running around by himself. Looking and looking for home but not really knowing what to look for, with only the smell of love and the memory of warm family to keep him going.