the email, it wasn't there. there was another email. from one of my oldest friends back home. the white to my black. the girl whose laugh will tickle you, just like a cat's tongue. in high school she had the delivery guy cut her pizza in half and bring the other half to me. i kept the box for years. in her email this evening, what i noticed most was, there were no erroneous capital letters. she always does that, usually the first letter or two, because she forgot to let go of the caps lock. she was upset that i won't be home for xmas. i have to work. i'll be here. i've spent xmas here before, the first year i moved. the worst part about it was the $20 i regretted spending on breakfast. this year, i thought about getting a hotel in oxford for xmas eve. i've never been there. but who would watch my dogs. and when the day arrived, i probably wouldn't feel like driving anyway. so maybe i'll just stay here and bake and watch movies. the strangest part is, my friend and my mom both said the very same thing when i told them the news: but you are our gift. it's not the same without you. we love seeing you.
this evening a little dog ran up to my car. she was the color of "bit 'o honey" candy...they're one of my dad's favorites. her ears stood straight up and her eyes inquisitive, like a small child's in the house of a stranger. i squatted down, and she licked my hand, then darted off. we played that game for a while. i tried to grab hold of her collar but she got away, ran into the road, nearly clipped by a sedan, and then again by another sedan. my stomach knotted up both times. come here, come on, pretty girl. i tried and tried, but she wouldn't come closer again. i watched her zigzag from one side of the street to the other as she made her way up the block. i should've followed her. i went into my house instead.
a day. that's all it was.