We fed Duncan early, took him for a late afternoon walk as the sun was setting and then another right before Ken and I went downtown to see the Broadway tour company's production of The Lion King. We came home, ate a very late dinner and took Roo for another quick walk before calling it a night and going to bed. It was only around three this morning, with Ken snoring on one side of me, Duncan on the other and Pip taking up most of my pillow, that I sat bolt upright in bed and caught Duncan's eyes, reflecting the glow of the streetlamps on the other side of the window, watching me. He sniffed once or twice then laid his narrow chin back down on his paws and blinked.
"We forgot Duncan," I said into the darkness.
"He's right here," Ken said, patting the bed beside him, his voice faraway, perhaps still in a dream. "Go back to sleep."
"No," I said, climbing out from under the covers and curling around Roo, who, having heard his name, was no longer asleep or even pretending. "It was seven years ago tonight you brought him home for the first time."
"Mmmph," Ken mumbled and resumed snoring.
So I laid next to Duncan, listening to him breath as my hand on his ribs rose and fell with each breath, and remembered that cold November night in 2004 when Ken arrived home, a small cardboard box seat-belted in his back seat. I met them in the parking lot and opened the door. In the darkness I saw a small red head poke itself up and turn toward me. Ken climbed out and watched, a grin on his face.
I touched Duncan for the very first time, pulled him up and toward my chest where he shivered and cowered against me, a high-pitched whine in his throat.
"You're so handsome, Little One," I said and kissed his head. Then I held him out so his belly caught the light of the moon and looked into his handsome eyes. "Are you a Duncan?" I asked.
He winked at me and I knew we'd be the best of friends.