Pa remained downstairs for a while longer. He was used to staying up late, usually reading. He drank the rest of his tea even though it was cold. Then he picked up Dana’s half-empty glass and carried both mugs into the kitchen. He threw away the tea bags and then dumped out the excess tea. He turned on the faucet and ran some warm water while he squirted some soap onto a sponge. Pa proceeded to wash the two mugs, and then dried them. He carefully placed them in the cabinet with the rest of the mugs, and then rinsed out the sponge so that no soap was left. While he did all of this, Dusty patiently waited by his feet. The dog watched as he washed and dried the two dishes. Then, as Pa turned around, Dusty perked up. The two of them staggered towards the stairs, and slowly climbed them one at a time. Even though the dog could’ve made it to the top pretty quickly, she waited for her master to make it up safely. Before heading to his own room, Pa peaked his head into the guest room to check on the two girls. They were both fast asleep, and snoring. Joe was also curled up in his bed, sleeping soundly. Pa then limped into his own room, Dusty following him, and closed the door behind him. He slowly undressed himself, his hands shaking the whole time. He flung his dirty clothes into the laundry, and those that remained clean he neatly folded and placed in his dresser. He pulled the covers back on his bed and picked up his nightgown. He tugged that over his head and let it fall over his frail body. He cautiously sat down on the side of the bed and reached towards the end table. On it sat several bottles of medication. Pa struggled to open them, but eventually managed to open all of them. He poured the necessary amount of pills into his free hand, and then placed the meds back on the end table. He placed one pill on his tongue and grabbed his glass of water that always sat next to his bed. He swallowed his medication one at a time, and then returned the glass of water back to its home. Pa then reached for the picture frame that sat off to the side of his meds. In the frame was a black and white picture of a beautiful woman with a huge smile plastered to her face. Pa brought the frame up to his face and kissed the picture.
“Goodnight, Isabelle,” he whispered, and then put the frame back on the table.
It had been years since his wife had died, but he always said goodnight to her before he went to bed. Pa cautiously lied down on his back and pulled the covers up to his chest. Dusty proceeded to leap onto the bed and laid her head on Pa’s chest. Pa stroked the dog’s fur, enjoying the comfort it brought him. Dusty had been with him for twelve years, and he knew that she wouldn’t be around for much longer. So the old man enjoyed every minute he had with the old girl. The two of them slowly fell peacefully asleep.