Emma stood there holding out the palm of her hand to let the warm sunlight absorb into her skin. While there was only a sliver shining through the window, which Miles had already found bouncing onto the ground where he sat chewing his tennis ball, it was just enough to travel through her body and make her smile inside. Cradling her tea and wrapping a blanket around her shoulders, with her free hand, Emma closed her eyes and tried to find a place that would allow her to gather the strength she needed to face the day ahead.
Startled back to reality by Miles’ sudden jump up and deep growl at the kids walking by on their way to school, Emma knew that it was time to get her things together and start her trek to the office.
As she opened the front door and crossed the threshold, she could feel the weight on her shoulders increase at a rapid rate.
“Mornin’ Emma” said Steve as she passed by his open office door.
“Good Morning” Emma said with a smile, waving slightly while noticing that the number of files on his desk matched the number of empty coffee cups that cluttered the corners; she could tell that he’d already been there for a while…or maybe he’d never left last night? She refused to let that be her…again.
She continued on, slipped her key into her office door, flipped on the light and hung her jacket. The usual morning routine. As her computer came to life she spotted the little countdown in the top right corner: 1 Month 10 Days. Was it sad that that little memo was the only thing that got her through most days? One month, ten days, then she would be on a ferry to the island where she would spend a whole six days in peace, oceanside.
Finally! 5:00am on the day she’d started to countdown towards 150 days ago was here!
“Come on Miles, get up!” Emma said as he rolled onto his back, tail wagging, “there’s a cookie in it for you” she said with a smile. He jumped up, caught the cookie mid-air, and walked towards the front door. How could she get mad at that face? At least progress was being made.
While stuffing her tiny suitcase, extra shoes (because you can’t have too many), Miles’ food, toys and blanket into the trunk, Miles took his place through the open door and into the backseat while she ran back to lock front door. Trunk closed, doors closed, keys in ignition, she was finally ready to go.
She made it to the ferry with plenty of time to spare, in her usual fashion, grabbed a coffee from her favorite place and took Miles for a little stroll on the beach beside the dock. With blue sky above and the salty smell of the ocean breeze rolling in from offshore, the day was off to a great start already. Miles spotted a seagull on the rock ahead, he crouched down and lunged towards it all while mr. seagull gracefully jumped into the air and went on his way.
“Just you wait buddy,” Emma said as Miles looked back at her with a funny expression on his face, “once we get to the other side you won’t even know what to chase after first.”
“All passengers departing to Swartz Bay, please return to your vehicles in preparation for departure. The Queen of Surrey has now docked at Bay 2 and loading with begin shortly…” the usual announcement suddenly blasted overhead.
“Time to get going buddy!” she said to Miles looking down at his big brown eyes. Rescuing him last year was the best thing she had ever done. It fathomed her to wonder how anyone could think of leaving a beautiful Nova Scotia duck dog, let alone any animal, like him in a ditch alone out in the elements? Turned out he was exactly what she needed at that very moment, and she couldn’t even remember how she got through without him before.
Forty-five minutes later the ferry docked on the other side and the last ten minutes of their journey began. Tunnelling out of the lower deck with the windows down and the music on, she fought her way through the traffic around her and into the left lane. As she made a turn off of the highway at the first light, the giant blue sign was the first thing she saw as it welcomed her back to “Sidney by the Sea.” She’d make this trip many times in the past, but this time was different. This time she was there to make a plan, an escape plan, and she had Miles by her side to share every minute with.
…there’s more to come.