It was a bright and cold morning, when I woke up that Sunday. My dog, a small black mongrel with white spots in his chest and feet, had been trying to wake me up for at least half an hour, when I decided that it was to time jump of the bed and shake off the blurriness.
As soon as I laid my feet on the floor, Pirucas, that was the name of my dog, went to fetch his leash, without a single care for my human basic needs. You see dear reader, he was in much need of a bathroom as I was.
Nevertheless, as I tried not to pay much attention to the yelping, I took a bath and dressed myself as quickly as I could, knowing that if I delayed my dog’s needs any further I would not only upset my mother, but I would also have to clean up the disaster he would for sure make.
As soon as I closed the door behind me, my dog jumped into the street with his tale swinging and bouncing, ready to smell and sniff his way around.
A little bit further, while we were climbing the street as if we were a hiking Mount Everest, I saw an old lady looking down at us.
As I got closer, I could see her white and opaque golden hair hidden in a flowerily scarf, her thin and wool jacket torn in the elbows over her delicate grey shirt, and her wrinkled hands trembling at that Sunday morning cold.
There was no one in the street besides her and me, and as I looked into her brown eyes I saw a profound emptiness in them.
“Are you alright?” I asked knowing what the answer would be.
“I…I don’t know.”
“Do you know where you are? Is there any place you want to go? I can take you there if you want.”
“I don’t know, don’t know”. She stuttered once more with a frightened look.
“Do you live nearby? Is there anyone I can call?” I tried once more.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know!”- She said while raising her voice in despair.
Though I tried to maintain some calmness, I knew I had to make a prompt decision. Every time, I looked into her eyes I could see the urgency in getting her medical assistance but I hadn’t with me any money and cellular phones weren’t very ordinary in those days. Dear reader, I had left with nothing except the door keys and some disposable dog bags.
My only thought was the health clinic nearby, though we still had to walk five minutes. It seemed a pretty good idea, but quite impossible to do with an old lady in need and a dog who was still recovering from a hernia surgery done a couple of months before.
“Do you want to go to a doctor? I can take you to a clinic but you’ll have to wait for me. I’ll just take my dog back home, and then we’ll go. Is that ok?” I asked again as I tried to have a confident and trustworthy look. She nodded her head still shaking from the cold and fear.
I picked up Pirucas, and ran back home. As I arrived, I took off his leash and went to the kitchen to tell my mother what had happened.
“How do you know that she really needs help? Haven’t you seen the news? Even this Friday there were reports of teenagers being kidnapped and waking up without their kidneys and lungs!” My mother replied while stirring the saucepan.
“I know mom, but I can’t leave her there!!! She doesn’t know who and where she is; besides she seems much more scared of me than I am of her. I have to do something! I know you’re concerned but I’m going anyway!!!” I replied without much thought and with the right teenager tone.
“Alright then!!!” Sighed my mother. “Let me turn off the stove and put the jacket on. I’ll go with you!”
We found the old lady at the exact same spot I had left her. Her eyes wide open, trying to decipher if I was the one who had talk to her.
My mother started to ask her the same questions I had before but this time not a single word was given.
So my mother took her arm while I took the other and we started our journey in silence.
As we arrived to the reception and explained the situation, a doctor attended the old lady immediately and assured us she would be taken care.
I struggled with the idea of leaving her alone. I felt as if she was a little child imprisoned in an old body, not knowing who to trust or what to do. I thought of my own grandmother and how much they looked alike.
During the next days, I often thought about her, wondering if she was all right and if she had been reunited with her loved ones. I felt sad and sick with the thought that I had abandoned someone alone, and thought I was only obeying my mother I felt that I should had done more.
Every time I strolled with my dog, I would think of the old lady and my heart would shrink a little bit more.
Two weeks after, on Christmas morning, my mother who had given me a day off from walking the dog, woke me up and gave me a can with cookies.
You see dear reader, when my mother was walking the dog the old lady came to her. She had been waiting in the cold for three hours. The only thing she remembered was my dog, nevertheless she had hope she could find me.
It seems she had been in the hospital. When we found her she was a having a stroke, but fortunately she had help in time and her son arrived to the hospital some hours after.
I, then, opened the can as if I was opening a treasure, took a bite in one of the cookies and thought to myself: Never did Christmas Cookies taste so good!!!!