She was on the floor by the table, Dolly, when the men rose up from the floors below, riding the electric scaffolding, and stopped outside Julia’s livingroom windows. This was yesterday, when Dolly was still alive. I was at the diningroom table, sitting in front of my computer, and Dolly was just lying there in front of the windows, her eyes open, having already thrown up bile a few times, getting close.
The bamboo blinds were down, but I’m guessing they could see me. Dolly was so small, though, and so low, that I’m sure they had no idea that she was there—the best little girl, pure bodhicitta, a princess in the land of lungta. It was her day. They were wearing yellow hard hats, and one guy unclamped himself and climbed over the railing of Julia’s balcony. Another guy pulled out a camera, and handed it to the guy now just outside the window.
I don’t know what they were photographing. Though I’d like to tell you that it was something inside the apartment, I think it was probably their handiwork, since they, or their colleagues, had been working on the building all summer. Dolly continued to lie there, her head tilted to one side. I thought about how odd life was: that a tiny little dog, so precious, could be a few hours away from her death, and the men on the scaffolding outside the window take a photograph, though not of her, unaware. We are so far apart.
In the middle of the night, after Dolly was gone, Julia and I watched “Law and Order.” In the morning, I checked my email on my phone from bed and discovered an angry letter from a friend. I went outside to walk Scout at six, the sun just having risen, and was surprised by the sound of acorns hitting the pavement from above. On the stationary scaffolding overhead, they sounded like rain.
Good journey, Dolly. If we see you again, we will be the lucky ones.