Making My Way Back To You.
Sue (Sooz) Simpson


Making My Way Back To You


How many times had she yelled that over the last two weeks? She smiled as the two
 boisterous seven-year-olds came hurtling into the house.

“Can we have a snack and a drink please Mum, we’re staaaaarving.” This was her son Marty’s usual greeting.

“Umm” backed up Carl “My mum says we’ve eaten her out of house `an home”
She grinned at the two lads as she busied herself making a future pile of washing up
BEFORE the evening meal.
It’s true what they say, she mused lads do only stop eating long enough to give

She was so happy that Marty had found himself a friend. They had been here four
months now and the natives were luke-warm at best and downright unfriendly if
honesty were to be uttered. Marty had met Carl down the prom, while walking Judy
the dog two weeks ago, and the two had become inseparable. Sally had also become
friendly with Val, Carl’s mum, it was shaping up into a nice foursome. Unfortunately
as sods law would decree the friendship was to be short lived as that coming weekend
Val and Carl were moving half way across the country. Coincidentally they were
moving just a few miles from where Sal and Marty had just moved.

The pair of loveable reprobates wolfed down their roast chicken and sweetcorn
sandwiches, munched happily on melting chocolate biscuits, and guzzled half a litre of
diet coke. Before scraping their chairs back from the table noisily, and announcing at
the usual jacked decibel level that they were going out.

“Not before you wash your hands and faces you’re not.”

The lads swapped that long-suffering ‘Oh why were we inflicted with mothers’ look,
and grudgingly slouched over to the sink. Their aversion to soap and water becoming
apparent as they fell into competition to see who could become, clean enough to
satisfy Attilla-the-Mum, while actually using the least amount of soap, and remaining as
dry as possible.

The water not only didn’t dampen their faces, but it left their spirits untouched too,
and soon they were battling for position as they ran headlong down the hall to the
front door.


The bellow like a cow in labour, was almost a reflex action now. They lived on a main
road, the garden improperly fenced, until the funds could be found to get the work
done. Marty had been coached over the months to shut the door behind him, to keep
the dog from making an untimely bid for freedom.

She winced as she heard the resounding slam of the door as they blasted off down the
drive. She turned to the minor mountain of pots in the sink.
Footsteps pounding down the hall.

“Can we have the Super-Soaker out please Sue.”Carl’s face was upturned with that pleading expression that all young children mastered by the time they were four.

Marty’s face pressed up against the patio doors, he’d walked down the path to the back door.
Two boys bustling and shoving as they went off down the back garden to Carl’s house.
The were gone.

A sickening screech of brakes, of tires, bracing themselves for traction on the busy main

Standing in the dining room...Knowing.

A numb second, the last numb second for sometime. A second of wishing she didn’t
have to go, didn’t have to move, didn’t have to leave this calming silence.

Running. Running full pelt through the house. Down the drive. Straight into the road.
The man standing by the open car door shaking his head.

“It just came from nowhere.”

The lady already weeping loud tears, hiding her face in her hands.
Kneeling, to pick up my soft, sleek bundle. Got to get rid of them, these murdering
strangers. Must make them go.

At least it isn’t the kids.

At least it isn’t the kids.

“I’m a nurse” Sally said. Small, mirthless laugh “ Not a lot of difference between a
dog and a person, she’s fine, its not serious. She’s just in shock. Few minor bumps, I’ll
get the vet. No please don’t feel ... It was entirely my fault. Please don’t worry. She’ll
be Ok”. Halfway back up the drive with her in my arms. Forced to take their phone
number. Promise to ring later.

“Yes I promise, yes, yes of course I’ll let you know”


She doesn’t have to pretend anymore. She lays the dying dog gently on the bed in the
downstairs bedroom.

Dog licks her hand.

 Stares at the blood dripping from her soiled hands. A shake of the head to clear the threatening fugue. Ring the vet.

Blood stained

“Please hurry.”

Lying on the bed cradling the dog. Respiration’s so weak. Head loose, held steady
against her breast.

“Please hurry.”

Respiration’s gone.

“No, oh please god NO.”

Laying her flat on the bed. Head to the dog’s breast, watching for a rising chest.
Listening for the slightest wheeze of air. Licking the palm of her hand and running it
down her cheek. Face to snout. Waiting to feel the coolness of air on her damp cheek.


Tilting the head, pulling forward the protruding tongue. finger swipe of the mouth.
Blood, so much blood.

Turning her head to the side, a large intake of air, then covering the whole of Judy’s
snout and mouth with her own mouth, a deep steady exhalation into the dog. Breathing
precious Oxygen into Judy, feeling the lungs inflate.

Spitting a mouthful of blood onto the cream bedroom carpet. Moving from the dead
mouth, placing her left-hand palm down over the right and lacing her fingers.


Where the hell to compress.

“Just below the sternum, come on girl think, think, not too hard now, easy as if she
were a child, not too much force.”

She placed her entwined hands on the still warm silky underside of her limp dog.
Fifteen rapid compression’s and then back to the mouth for one steady respiration. Stop.
Look. Listen Repeat.

Fifteen minutes. Twenty. The heart isn’t going to start. Doesn’t matter. Don’t worry
just keep oxygen flowing to the brain. Keep the body working.

“Where’s the bloody vet.”

“Cough, Sorry Cough, heavy traffic. Got here as soon as I could. Nothing more to be
done. She’s gone I’m afraid. Forty-eight pounds please. Sorry”

She was tempted to drop the money to the floor and watch the parasite scramble for it.
He never even touched her. Never even tried.


Too late to stop them, already on their way. Beef Wellington burned black.

House smells of charred remains. Judy wrapped in sheet in the shed. A night of stilted
sentences, broken conversation.

Marty had been through such a difficult couple of years. The divorce, being disowned
by his father. Moving, Moving, Moving. Trying to settle, trying to find ‘home’. Too
much for him to cope with. Can’t possibly tell him the truth, and yet she had never lied
to him before. If one day the truth came out, how would he ever trust her again?

The lads come pounding in.

“Where’s Jude?”

Truth. Lie. Tick Tock.
Truth. Lie. Tick Tock.

Too long a pause. Answer him.

Answer him dammit!

Can hardly stand to look at Carl. So innocent so unaware. She feels the anger welling
up, rising like gorge in her thorax, and she swallows it down. Only a child. He’s only
a child. Bloody super-Soaker.

“Mum” Fear whining through the word. Needing re-assurance.

“Mum where’s Judy?”

“Well my darling,” herding them out of the room before they see the bloodstain by the
bed behind the door. Holding his hand and guiding him to the stairs. She sits and pulls
him into the protective circle of her arm. Carl flanks her on the other side and leans in
to be cuddled too, sensing drama. Two scared little boys. She wants to push the “other
child” away. Stamps down hard on the urge. Just a child. Stop blaming him.

Wrapping an arm round each of them and drawing them down onto the stairs beside
her. Adopting silly voice.

“Well lads, that Judy’s been a silly billy, she’s had a right adventure. You’ll never
believe what she’s gone and done to herself. I left the front door open didn’t I?”

“Oh Muuuum.”

“I know, I’m a Dunderklunken.”

Our made up word, meaning daft and ditsy, but very loveable. The two pairs of clear
eyes still showing fear, but hopeful, trusting, it was going to be OK, Mum was goofing
around so it can’t be serious.

“...Anyway she ran out into the road, thought she was super dog, and just ran into a
car outside. Oh it’s nothing much, just a sore leg, but she’s had to go to the vets, and
she’ll be staying for a day or two until she’s better.

No Marty, your best mate there, left the door wide open, didn’t I say? Didn’t I say a thousand times to close the door. Stupid child. Stupid damned child. Swallowing down the anger, smiling. Just a child.

A little tear or two from Marty, and then a big watery smile, after more assurances that
she would be all right.

“She’ll be all right mate, My dad stood on my dogs foot `an she didn’t die, come on
lets play dustbin men.”

That was enough for him to take on board for now. In a few days when Carl and Val
had left, that would be soon enough to tell him of the plans to re-home Judy for her
own safety. How she’d be going to a farm, with lots of fields and open places to play.
Doggie heaven. Just a little slice of Doggie heaven.

Party atmosphere. A second meal thrown together in shock, forgot two of the
guests are Veggies. Third time lucky a hurried visit to the Chippy. Laughing a little
too loudly. Explaining about the daft dog hurting herself and the meal being ruined
while she drove her to her ‘holiday’ at the vets. “Oh yes of course, She’ll be fine,
nothing serious.”

“Nothing serious, only death.”

A deep feeling of shame, not being able to tell even close friends what really happened.
Sitting round the table, six bottles of Melon Breezer. Swallowing down again the glob
of emotion that threatened to vomit itself all over the assembled. Cracking a sick joke,
that they should be re-named Capillary Breezers. The colour of blood. The colour of
the blood staining the bedroom carpet. Laughing heartily. As usual the clown. Wanting
them all to just go away. Wanting to let the mask slip. Wanting to slide down a wall
and let the force of emotion that was almost suffocating her out.

Marty’s asleep. They’ve gone. It’s cool in the garden, the moon bearing witness to her
deception. She’s stiff and unyielding as Sal lays her beneath the roses.

Sitting again at the dining table. Collar smelling of leather and Judy, name-tag
proclaiming the beloved name. Half a bottle of Vodka, its level receding as the tears

Thursday had started like any other. Usual routine of school, work, chores. It had
ended in misery. Friday and Saturday were bearable. Just. A facade through the day
giving way to wretched tears at night. Sunday night, lying in bed. Tossing and turning.
Too many times asking when Jude would be home. Tomorrow after school, she’d tell
him Judy had gone to the farm.

A scratch at the door. Another, urgent, insistent scrabbling to get in. A yap.


 Got to be dreaming”

Moving as if in a trance to the door. Knowing who was at the other side.
She came in thinner, collarless, and hungry.

For the rest of her days she walked with a limp, but she was the same old Judy. Still
went berserk if you said “Risk it for a biscuit” or “Ta ta’s” Still gave high fives with
the grace and elegance of a ballerina. Still deigned to give Sal three inches of her bed,
as she lay beside her. The only difference was the grudging respect she had gained for
the road outside the house, realising it seemed that she is not superdog.

They talked occasionally of digging up the Rose beds. Marty said he’d do it in summer
break from collage, build a conservatory there. Sal said that she liked the roses, but
maybe it’s just that she was scared of what she’d find under there.

Or perhaps what she wouldn’t find!



Copyright © 2000 Sue (Sooz) Simpson
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