a weekly series of fiction to enjoy with your bowl of cereal
Igor and Spank by Kel Rohlf
I felt like cleaning. I started in the family room. I pushed the furniture to one side of the room, after dusting all the furniture. Then I vacuumed and mopped the hardwood floor. I pushed the furniture back to the other side to repeat my routine. As I mopped, I thought about rearranging the furniture, so I could put up the Christmas tree. The thought surprised me. Why would I want to put up the Christmas tree? That was something Jack and the boys did because I never felt like participating. Christmas was a dark time for me. After Thanksgiving, I would spiral down with the gray days, dreading the holiday hype. What gifts to get? Where to put the tree? The first few years of our marriage, I pretended to be excited and help Jack. He loved Christmas. He would always get me extravagant gifts, like jewelry or the most expensive sweater or a year membership at the spa. I never knew what to get him. I’d ask what he wanted and he would say I was his priceless gift. I always cringed inside when he said that.
Ever since I met Igor and his family, something was shifting inside me. I thought I might actually be missing my boys, not in a guilty way, but in a hopeful way. Maybe I could be a good mother. Maybe I could put up the Christmas tree and invite them home, instead of me going to them. Just as I started to applaud myself for such a bold idea, I was startled back to reality. Someone was ringing my doorbell. I stepped over the vacuum and made my way to the front door. It was Igor and Spank.
I opened the door, and boy and dog rushed into my house. Igor grabbed my waist and was sobbing, while Spank sniffed my feet. “What in the world? What’s wrong Igor?” I asked while trying to gently unattach him from me. He clung tighter, so I patted his back. “I’m here, it’s okay.” After a bit, he calmed down, but was silent. Spank sat quietly nearby watching us. I offered Igor to sit in the family room with me. I explained that I had been cleaning, but we could still get to the couch. He sat down and took a deep breath. I didn’t know whether to ask what was going on or just wait for him. He finally blurted out, “They took momma and Georgie!”
“Who? What do you mean took them?”
“Two men in blue suits. I had been out taking Spank for a walk, when I saw a strange car in our driveway. Something inside me told me to stop. I hid behind a neighbor’s tree and waited. Then the front door opened, and two men walked out with momma holding Georgie. She looked like she was crying. I wanted to run to her, but I had a strong feeling to stay behind the tree. My heart was beating fast, and the men seemed scary to me. They reminded me of Carl, except they were wearing suits. I watched them all climb into the car, and back out of the driveway. They went the opposite way of where I was hidden. I started to cry, and just sat down next to the tree. Spank licked my hand.” Igor smiled. I took his hand and squeezed it. “And now I’m here,” he finished with a sigh.
I didn’t know what to say. My mind was racing with possible explanations. Maybe their visas had expired. Maybe Carl sent some men to kidnap them. Maybe Elena wasn’t telling me everything about their story. But now here I was with Igor and his dog. What should I do? Call the police. Call Jack. Then the craziest idea popped into my head. I invited Igor and Spank to stay with me.
“Igor, how about you and Spank stay with me for now? Until we can figure out what to do. I’m afraid to call the police. I don’t know why, but I don’t think I should.”
“Yes, I’m afraid, too. I don’t understand. I didn’t even have a dream about this. Why didn’t my dreams warn me this time?”
A plan was coming together in my mind. I couldn’t explain to him that dreams are just dreams. Sure he had some warnings and some gifts come from dreams. But real life is different. Dreams weren’t predictable. I ignored his question, and pushed forward with my plan, “Let’s go to your house…”
“NO! What if they are coming back for me?”
“Alright. But we need to get some food for Spank, right? You can borrow some of my boys’ clothes for now. They left some things here. You can stay with me, until we sort this out.” Igor hugged me, and for the first time in a long time, I almost believed I could do something right.