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“Hey, want to go for a walk?”

After many years together, it was like he could read her thoughts. She didn’t have to make a sound because the look on her face gave him his answer.

As they strolled slowly, his mind wandered, not thinking about anything in particular, just taking in the trees and grass. He glanced at her, and a small grin stretched his face as the thought snuck into his head. Maybe it’s true. Maybe long-time pairs do start to look alike. His once-brown hair was now totally gray. More accurately, the little tufts that remained were gray. When he first met her, her long, dark hair swayed and swished as she walked. Now it looked as if some magic hand had frosted each tip in silver. As far as he was concerned, it was still beautiful.

Their walk was different now. He was 78 and fought arthritis, and she had a definite limp. He could still pick out dips and curves in their path and he watched over her because it was obvious those beautiful, brown eyes weren’t seeing what they once saw. Still, for all their aches and pains, they were content. They had each other.

Today’s walk reminded him of the day they met. He’d left work—a beautiful day and a smelly, tuna fish sandwich had convinced him to eat his lunch outside—and was in a park, much like this. The minutes slipped away as he ate, relaxed and daydreamed, until, unfortunately, it was time to go back to work. Just as he rose to leave, a lime-green tennis ball rolled against his foot. Absentmindedly, he scooped up the ball and was about to toss it toward the nearby tennis court when he saw her. She was running toward him, long legs, the blackest hair he’d ever seen and a grin on her face that made him forget all about going inside. 

That’s when they started their silly game. Every day, he went outside for lunch, even as the days grew colder. Every day, just by coincidence, she’d show up. When the weather grew too cold to sit, they started walking together. He’d talk, and she was the best listener he’d ever met. That’s not to say it was all one sided. She could say more with a glance than most people could put into words. Her name was Lucy, and after a few weeks, she was living with him.

Now, with twilight starting to darken the path, it was time to go home. After a quiet meal and some time in his cushy recliner that started with TV and ended with him dozing off and on, they looked at each other, and both knew it was time to go to bed. As he trudged upstairs, he thought about what his kids kept telling him. Dad, you need to move your bedroom downstairs. He knew they were right, but he was stubborn. He’d make the move—someday. Right now, the only move he was making was toward the bathroom. 

Lucy got into bed and watched through the open door as he brushed his teeth. Pajamas on, slippers off, he slipped into bed. Lucy shifted her weight, and he could feel her moving to the bottom of the bed, near his feet. He sighed softly, knowing Lucy was the best dog he’d ever had.