Jared was gone. Gone for two weeks and 3 days, having only left behind an overdue utility bill and a dog that shit everywhere when left alone. Zoey lifted her foot and removed the shoe that had stepped in another one of Price's presents.
"Price", she called out limping towards the bathroom. 'Where are you, you little fucker."
She knew where he was of course. Cowering in a corner somewhere because he knew he had done something wrong. Probably had done so the minute he finished his business. It was always like that with him. Do something wrong, hide, then give the puppy dog eyes until she caved in.
The phone began to ring as she walked towards the bathroom. She chose to ignore it, as she already knew who it was. Her mother had been calling almost every night to make sure she was “alright.” As if Jared leaving meant she was going to slit her wrists or something. She wasn't sure what annoyed her more; that her mother believed she was so fragile or that when she thought of it slitting her wrists hadn't sounded so bad. It had to hurt a lot less than a broken heart.
“Sweetheart, are you there?” her mother's saccharine sweet voice called out over her answering machine. "Well, I just wanted you to know that your father and I are having a family get together on Friday and want you to come. Okay, call me later."
Zoey rinsed her shoe under the faucet and almost gagged at the smell. How such a small dog could release so much crap was beyond her. As she dried the shoe off, her mind chose to focus on the task at hand rather than her mother's sly attempt to goad her out of the house. It was true, she hadn't done any outside activities since he left but it had only been 2 weeks not years. She needed time to mourn, or if not mourn at least time to contemplate her future. Having the one thing in your life that you believed to be pure and true turn out to be a lie is devastating, not to mention stressful. How many 29 year old women could honestly say they would be happy if a five year relationship ended? It felt like reading "War and Peace" then being told to start all over again, all of that time and energy. And love, oh yes the love that seemed to know no bounds. That was timeless, endless, and beyond comprehension as to how something could be so beautiful. Jared hadn't always been the best at remembering anniversaries or putting the toilet seat down but at love he was like a dream.
“You have got to be kidding me," Zoey yelled as she walked into her bedroom.
On the floor beside her bed sat a pair of Aldo sandals she had purchased not more than a month ago. She had only gotten a chance to wear them once and had been looking forward to wearing them to work tomorrow. It appeared, as she lifted one sandal off of the floor, that Price had taken a liking to the material because he had ripped the top of the sandal to shreds.
Zoey plopped down on her bed and laid back. Her natural reaction was to go find him and give a good scolding. But she found that he no more understood what she was saying than she did why she would try explaining to a dog that sandals cost money. Looking back on why she had gotten Price in the first place it occurred to her that Jared had been the catalyst.
At the time Price had looked like one of those toy dogs that all the celebrity women loved to buy. An accessory that could be toted around in trendy bags while they sipped their trendy drinks and went shopping at trendy stores. Zoey wasn't and would never be trendy and she certainly didn't want a dog that could be classified as that. Her preference had been for a bulldog; they looked tough and were cute but just ugly enough to keep strangers from wanting to constantly pet them. But Jared had put in a lofty bid for them purchasing Price, most notably that he had a slight limp. And it was true, Price ambled to the side and it was most noticeable when he ran which is the first thing he did when they neared his cage. Seeing such a cute puppy with a funny gait she couldn't help but fall in love. So she told the proprietor she would take him and snatched him up.
“You handle him so well. You're going to be a great mom some day."
That was it, the statement to end all statements. Zoey had been sure at the time that this solidified her relationship with Jared.
No guy mentions something like motherhood or marriage unless he's serious. It was obvious after some time that for him it had been nothing more than an observation not a declaration of his commitment to her.
“God, can you say gullible,” Zoey mumbled to herself as she got up to change clothes. “Guess I’ll be buying some new shoes, again.”