The Hall by Sherie G. Garner

The sun is just beginning to peer through the sheer white drapes on the east side of the house.  By now I usually can hear you shuffling down the hall to greet me.  A few shuffles and then you appear near me – staring intently into my face with those liquid almond eyes.  This usually alerts me to get the day started, but if this silent stare and hint of a smiling expression doesn’t work, then the next action you would take would be to stretch a little and open your mouth and unload the pent-up air in your lungs into the room where you were by then jittering impatiently.  The air passed through your vocal chords and blasted the silence in the room.  Even the long buried dead could not remain still from this blast of noise.  When you were very young, your voice filled the silence as a high pitched soprano, and as you matured I was sure you would wind up low as a baritone.  Your maturing into an adult male however proved my prediction wrong. Your early morning announcements would forever be delivered as a soprano.  Everything else in your maturing responded to predictable maleness as you shed your youth and began to look just like your ancestors, but the voice was distinctly high, too high on many occasions. The calendar on my wall is reminding me that I have only 11 days to go before Christmas.  This Christmas would mark our 16th anniversary.  It seemed like just a few weeks back I set eyes on you in your youth for the very first time. I wasn’t even contemplating a new roommate or even wanting to make more friends.  Two weeks before Christmas of that special year I was out shopping for friends.  The candy store was next to a new pet store in town.  On my way to purchase a box of Russell Stovers, I glanced through the window to notice the Parakeets and Canaries.  I peered a little closer and noticed some smaller colored birds.  My curiosity drew me closer and I thought a few minutes in the pet store would be fine and then off to purchase that candy. As I entered the store the caged birds fluttered about, then I noticed that this new facility had kittens, playful, bubbly, and I approached to see them closer – then off to my left I spotted you. Someone had placed you in the kitten section by accident.  You weren’t much bigger.  You were waking up from your nap.  First you stretched and then blasted the airways with that now famous signature song.  You were so small that you could fit in a teacup almost.  But that sound went right through the case and the entire store.  Your parents would have been proud. You noticed me staring at you in disbelief that a sound so loud could have been belted out of that tiny body.  Now those brown gold eyes were peering into mine and you put up a paw to attempt to touch me or reach out or wave, I wasn’t sure which. I stepped toward the thin glass window that separated us.  You yelped that loud sound, jumped up in the air, landed, arched to pounce and vigorously wagged that skinny tail you had. This display of pent up energy took me by surprise.  I was so intent on noticing the next antic that I didn’t see the sales clerk approach.  I never noticed the sign near your cage either:  Discounted Small Collie – Male.  Christmas Special.  The young girl approached and said, “Would you like to see this little pup closer?”  I backed away, “Oh No!…Only looking!” My retreating motion must have surprised you.  You arched, jumped, batted at the glass and then sat down and howled.  My eyes teared up thinking that this now sad creature might possibly remain in that small box of a cage, possibly forever. “How old is the pooch?”  I heard myself say out loud.  The sales clerk pointed to the large sign and said: “Well, his birth date is October 11, so a little over eight weeks old.” You became my new roommate two days later.  Your endearing golden eyes peered at me to say thank you.  Your slight smile won my heart.  Your unbridled enthusiasm for me was demonstrated with your skinny spastic tail. Apartment living isn’t always easy for a pooch, and with December came the usual snow.  The second day of your arrival it had already snowed over 8 inches, with no signs of letting up.  Every two hours we trudged out – I carried you to your spot and carried you back.  My friends said you would never learn anything during a snowstorm.  On the 5th day you would go to the front door and yip, a quick staccato sound and out we would go.  When I had to leave you for work or for errands, you would assume the ritual – haunches on the ground and head up high in position – open your mouth and cut the air with that sound.  A low whimper rolled up and out first, followed by a serious whine and then up with the nose and back with the ears and you would penetrate the entire neighborhood with that howl.  It split through the doorway, out the windows and across the parking lot. I got the eviction notice a few months later. I located a nice condo, large rooms, a long hall and I hired a carpenter to insulate the ceilings and walls. We did puppy stuff together, first manners school, then beauty school, finally athletic school.  We traveled to other cities and visited family and friends. By the age of two, you shed out your short stubby coat and graced your body with long red silk.  Your white mane around your neck would bounce when you skipped along.  Your red coat glistened like fire.  Those front curled ears gave you a permanent look of youth, and the tail you carried high always, arched and proud over your back.  A small collie with show stock ancestry, your midget size was only 15 inches tall at the shoulders. Holidays, vacations and weekends – we were inseparable.  A very high energy pooch, you would run down the hall early to wake me, at first just stare at me to see if was time for your first walk of the day, then jiggle, pounce, circle, rear up and spin and open your mouth and pierce the silence with that powerful voice.  It would start as a low hum and then would build to a faint yip, a small hiss, a soprano squeak and then blast off!  The dead in the grave would be flung to the heavens! By this time, I’m getting out your leash – in a minute we would be outside.  Oh relief! You aged slowly, or maybe I didn’t manage to notice.  Some little gray hairs near your whiskers and some wrinkles for brows. Your streaking down the hall in time changed to a brisk padding, then a stiff shuffle.  Those liquid almond eyes still pieced me, but then they started to show a slight tint of gray. Morning sent you down the hall at a shuffle, but the voice was still strong. Last month Dr. Vance said the cancer was back.  He said that this time he couldn’t operate. Oh all right, I don’t hear your shuffle just yet, or your paw steps on the carpet, padding slowly down the hall.  I guess that I’ll get up anyway and take you out.  I’m sure you are ready for your first morning walk. I guess it is my turn to shuffle down the hall.

Sherie G. Garner Biography

Sherie Garner
115 North Mountain Avenue # 223
Claremont, Ca 91711



Freelance writer. Poetry, Fiction and Non-Fiction Short Stories.

Subject matter:

Scotland Highland Dancing
An Octopus in My Living Room (a true story of a pet octopus)
Cat Shows
Lapidary Hobby
A Special cat trained like a Dog
“Headlines” Fiction story inspired by Gale Sayers – A Football Hero
Stained Glass Window Hobby
Short Story: History or Mystery? A true story of a Hermit living in the Forest in Nebraska in the 1950s.
Short Story: Omaha is Not a One Horse Town – about the Successful Horse Carriage Business

Published in these Magazines:

Omaha Magazine
Nebraska Life Magazine
Lutheran Magazine
Lapidary Magazine
Cricket Magazine
The Dundee Sun Newspaper