“When you’re down and out / When you’re on the street / When evening falls so hard /I will comfort you (ooo) / I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes / And pain is all around / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down.” – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel
Wes called up to a young woman sitting on the bridge ledge.
He gulped and climbed up beside her, assessing her. She shook her head, “I’m not here to jump, it’s only peaceful up here.”
He settled beside the woman on edge. “I’m Wes,” he said, “I’m not a fan of heights. I don’t understand how you can sit here and find it tranquil.”
She laughed, “I’m Becca, Wes. Scoot back and look at everything from this gorgeous view.”
“See, the moon’s a giant light in the sky illuminating everything so the bridge doesn’t feel eerie at night. Now, look at the water below you.”
He peered down: “I see darkness, turbulence, and fear. I see a river where too many people have jumped and drowned in.”
“You see this bridge as dangerous Wes. But without the bridge, no one would get across to the otherside. Without people in our life–our friends, loved ones, God, helpful strangers –we wouldn’t make it through troubled waters.“
“Yeah, I know Becca,” he said.”It’s like the song by Simon and Garfunkel.”
“Sometimes, we help ourselves, with a little effort.”
“You stopped yourself, having every intention of jumping before you saw me,” Becca said gently.
“You saved me Becca,” Wes admitted.
She shook her head and smiled, disintegrating. He gasped, carefully, moving off the ledge onto the bridge’s walkway.
Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting the story continuation prompt. This week’s first sentence is: “The new morning brought with it new hope.”
The new morning brought with it new hope. Yesterday had been a horrible day and I didn’t want today to be a repeat. I had taken the day off as work had been particularly stressful.
Also, I had been dog sitting for my brothers and my parents who had all decided to go to various vacation destinations at the same time. I was ready to relax and unwind with the dogs, when my friend popped over with her three giant lab dogs.
Janice hadn’t had time to take her labs to doggy daycare in the morning as she usually did on Thursdays, before work. She felt Luna, Izzy, and Geo needed to be around other dogs at least a couple of days in the week, in addition to their walks. Luna, Izzy, and Geo joined Crumpet, Lola, and Cleo for some socialization on my day off.
I was happy all six dogs were girls.There was a pecking order, Cleo and Lola, leading the pack, but all the dogs got along famously and enjoyed playing and following each other around in the house.
Cleo and Lola were miniature American-Eskimo cross breeds and pack dogs by nature. Crumpet was a chihuahua and yappy as chihuahua’s tended to be. Luna, Izzy, and Geo were all various mixes of labs, friendly and boisterous.
I dreaded taking all six dogs to the park for a walk as I wasn’t sure how to manage six dogs of various sizes and temperaments, all on leashes. I was hoping to let them run around on the off leash trails as much as possible. But even maintaining control of the girls on the off leash trails would be a challenge as I would have to ensure they did not scare or surround other dogs and their owners.
Lunch time came, and I set off on a walk with all six dogs. Leashes tangled and the girls sniffed around and jumped at each other on the way to the off leash trails. We narrowly avoided several people on bicycles. The American Eskimo crosses, in particular, didn’t like the cyclists and the noise they made. They were even more upset by the rollerbladers who whipped by us.
While Cleo and Lola tugged madly on their leashes I attempted to pull them in. The labs on the other hand, loved running along with Janice on her husband as they biked, so they in turn, pulled their leashes towards the cyclists happy to greet them.
Finally we reached the off leash trails and the dogs were set free to play. The chased each other through trees, wood chipped trail, and bushes. We passed other people walking their dogs and I was surprised how good all the dogs were, even Cleo and Lola who could be nippy and have attitudes at times. All the dogs greeted the new human and dog friends they met on the trails, and more dogs were added to the mixture of breeds running wild.
Crumpet, my parent’s chihuahua mix, decided she had had enough walking and jumped up into my arms. I had no idea how I was going to carry her with the five others dogs pulling on their leashes when we were ready to go home. The dogs and I walked down the trail a good hour and then turned around.
I was tired near the end of our walk. It was a great deal of effort to keep tabs on six dogs and the dogs’ energy levels were still going strong. I was hoping a long walk would tire them out. The girls were constantly running back and forth to me, checking to see that I was coming along and jumping at me at random moments wanting me to play or to give me a kiss. Cleo and Lola who knew me better, kept checking back incase I decided to throw a milkbone treat their way.
As we walked, we came to the shores of the river near my house. A small delta of land went out here, and couple of other dogs were swimming in the shallow waters. I shouted, “No. Stay here,” to all the dogs but they ignored me. I expected Luna, Izzy, and Geo to not hear me as they had never had to listen to me before. But Cleo and Lola knew better. So did Crumpet.
They tiny Chihuahua mix leaped into the muddy water and began to paddle around. I groaned. All these dogs were going to need baths later and this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday off, bathing filthy dogs. I knew for a fact Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet would never accept being bathed by a hose and they would fight me every inch as I washed them.
After a time, I called all the dogs out of the river water. They came crashing towards me. Luckily, I had been wearing workout clothes, for I was as wet and dirty as the dogs once they were done greeting me.
Something was wrong though, Crumpet hadn’t come in from the river. I saw her standing on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water and yipping at me. She was afraid to come out. I sighed and made a face knowing I would have to go in the river and bring Crumpet out.
Wading into the shallow water, I carefully walked out from the delta and grabbed Crumpet off of her lonely island. She was overjoyed to see me and dripped water over my face and neck. Even my hair was dirty now.
Crumpted nuzzled into my neck and sighed. When I was back on land, I managed to leash up the five other dogs who had been patiently waiting for me oddly enough.
I don’t know how, but dripping wet and dirty, we all made it back to my house and I unleashed all the dogs in my fenced backyard. I won’t mention how difficult it was to clean up after each dog after they had done their business during the walk.
In the garage, I had a kiddy pool purchased for my small niece when she had visited in the summer. I filled up the pool with water from the garden house. Going inside the house, I shed my clothes at the door along with my mucky shoes, and went downstairs to the bathroom to grab a big bottle of shampoo. I changed into an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and grabbed old towels from from the closet upstairs.
A couple of the labs, Izzy and Luna, were already in the swimming pool when I came outside, so I began washing them first. Apparently, they were used to being bathed liked this and after the first two labs were done, I grabbed Crumpet from where she slept, under a tree and forced her to have a bath as well. Taking ice cream buckets full of garden hose water, I rinsed off the dogs and dried them in turn. I dumped out the kiddy pool and filled it again with clean water.
Geo the third lab, was happy to have a bath as her lab siblings had enjoyed. She was easy to shampoo, rinse off, and dry. Cleo and Lola watched me suspiciously as I came to get them. I yelled, “Come here!” Their ears went back as they knew they were in trouble and they tried to stealthily avoid me. But Cleo was nearest and only thirty-pounds, it was easy enough to carry her into the pool a short distance away.
Keeping Cleo in the pool, was a problem. She struggled in earnest to escape, even when she was slathered in shampoo. She was tough to clean as she had long fur and when she was done, we both were covered in water. I let Cleo go after drying her off. It was Lola’s turn next and she yelped when I picked her up from the corner of the yard she’d been hiding in. The process of cleaning Lola was similar to how it went with her cousin Cleo.
I was worn out from walking and bathing six filthy dogs. But I gazed out into the grassy backyard and saw how tired the dogs were too. They lay stretched out in the grass sleeping or circling, trying to find a good position to settle down in in a sunbeam. I collapsed into a lawn chair and slept.
The next thing I knew Janice was standing before me. “Trish? Are you awake?” I was startled. I smiled at Janice sleepily.
“Yeah. I was tired. Sorry I must have dozed off.” I told Janice what the girls and I did today. She laughed.
“You didn’t have to take all the dogs for a long walk. I was going to take the labs myself when I got home. How did you manage with six dogs?”I told Janice the story and she laughed at my struggles with the dogs.
Janice thanked me profoundly and took Izzy, Luna, and Geo home. Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet .wandered up to me and we all went in the house. Dinner was served for the dogs and at the end, treats were given for enduring their baths.
In the end, I was able to have the long hot shower, I’d been dreaming about since the dogs jumped on me after being in the river. I took my time and was finally, able to relax.