Dog Days.

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Chapter Twenty: Maria.

I don’t know how he did it, but somehow he managed to make something that was starting to feel impossible come true with ease. When I got that text message that he was here and to come to the lobby, I just about fell over when I saw him. Grams was with him, standing at one side, and at his other sat Koda. Daisy loved her dog, more then she could ever love herself. I knew that, yet when the doctor said no the first time I had given up.

Obviously Chris didn’t.

The doctor walked up beside me, and I expected him to tell Chris to take Koda away. That isn’t what happened though. “He talked me down.” He said to me, “I guess it is worth breaking the rules if it’s going to help for the better. I just hope it does.”

Somehow Chris was able to talk the stubborn doctor into letting the dog come in. How? I don’t think I’ll ever know. “It will work.” Maybe it was the only thing that would work.

I walked up to them, shaking my head. “Do you have magic powers or something? You’ve got to if you pulled this off.” He shook his head at me, just smiling. “You just may do it, you may make her smile after all.”

“I’m not going in.”

Of course, that was the biggest shock of all. “Are you insane? You are the hero of the hour and you aren’t coming in to be part of it?”

“No. I’ll see her, eventually.” I could tell it was painful for him to say this, each word deliberate but forced. He knew this was the right thing to do, but the right thing wasn’t always the easiest. “I’ll see her when it’s the right time.”

He was right, I knew that, but it took a big man to do something like that. It was selfless, and I could tell he would wait for Daisy forever if need be. Which was exactly was she deserved and needed. “Okay.” I took the leash from him, nodding my head.

“Don’t tell her this was me.” Chris said, “Promise?”

“I promise.”

As I tuned to leave with the doctor and Grams, I heard Daisy’s grandmother tell Chris thank you as she left. This could be a turning point for Daisy, this could be the moment, and I did wish that Chris could see it. He believed that this would work.

And he was right.

The moment Koda walked in, it was like a bit of Daisy cracked through the shell. Hearing her voice call out to him, seeing a smile, watching he hold the dog close. It was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Dogs were amazing creatures, they didn’t even know that they could save a person’s life.

I apologized for my tears, wiping them away as I came to her side. I had kept my mouth shut through the reunion, not mentioning the man who made it all happened. I planned on keeping that promise until I saw how she looked like herself in this moment. He deserved the recognition, and she deserved to know that she had someone amazing in her life. Which is why I let my comment slip and eventually told her the whole truth.

And that made her understand. It made her see that everything she had been doing was pointless. Daisy had been scared, and for this one moment she didn’t need to be. Chris wasn’t here to hurt her, he was here to help. I wanted her to have someone like that, I wanted her to have a happy life one day. Though one person can’t change everything, Chris would help her towards that future she deserves. Which is why I told her it was time to stop running.

“He planned all of this, every bit.” I said to her, watching her cry into Koda’s fur. “He made this happen, and he told me to not tell you. He didn’t want this to be about him, he didn’t want the credit. But you need to know, you have to see that he cares about you.”

It would be hard for her to totally accept it. Maybe in this moment she was understanding but that didn’t mean she would always understand, she would relapse and think she is alone again. I liked to this that he was the type to remind her, and keep reminding her until it sticks.

“This isn’t only about him. This is about you, about your life. It’s about you learning to live.” I told her, wanting so much for her to listen to me this time. “Part of this is learning that you have people, that people love you. You have me, your Grams, Koda. Soon you’ll have your parents here. You’re family has been stopping by. Now, you know that you have Chris as well. You may feel alone, but you aren’t. And you have people who are going to remind you that you aren’t from now on.”

Once she realized that all these people loved her, maybe then she would be able to accept there is things to love. Then, just maybe, she will learn to love those things as well. Daisy just needed to remember that there are parts of her worth loving. Somewhere along the way, she forgot all about that.

Daisy didn’t say anything, but her face did come out of Koda’s fur. She was listening, that’s good, so I spoke again. “Will you try? Will you work with the therapist? Will you work to get out of here? Back to the world with us? With Koda? With Chris?”

She was quite from a moment longer, thinking it through. I knew that her mind must be a mess right now. Some parts of her telling her she needed to get better, she needed to return to the world, and some parts telling her to give up, she needed nothing but to be dead. I couldn’t even imagine how hard it must be to fight within your own mind. What a scary thing that must be. It was like being stuck in a darkness that you just can’t escape, and I knew how much she hated the dark.

“Okay. I’ll try.”

And that was the best news I could of ever heard. She would try, and that’s all we wanted. The doctor smiled, nodding before he left. “A step in the right direction.”

And thank you for helping with that step Chris.

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