By Dart Humeston
“Frank, the dog got raptured!” Ginger screamed at the top of her lungs from the front porch.
“He’s in here, drinking water,” I lied. “And there is no canine rapture, anyway.”
Ginger, her robe wrapped about her arthritic frame, hurried into the kitchen, her slippers sliding across the floor. Floyd’s dry and empty water bowl sat in the corner where it had been for eighteen years.
“Thank God!” she said, grabbing a dish rag off the counter to wipe the fear from her brow. “I don’t think life would be the same without old Floyd.”
“Sit down, Ginger,” I said, as I put her favorite coffee mug on the small kitchen table.
“And thank God there isn’t a coffee mug rapture, either, as we would slurp our coffee out of our shoes.”
“Dammit, Frank, the Bible is clear on there being a rapture, but nowhere in the Good Book does it say it is limited to people.” Ginger scolded me as she sat down.
“Wouldn’t everyone and everything be raptured at the same time?” I asked, trying to activate some of her dementia-soaked brain cells.
“The Bible doesn’t rule out mini-raptures, Frank,” she said.
“Or coffee mug raptures, for that matter,” I joked.
Ginger was only ten years my senior, but the disease had aged her greatly. It tore me apart each time she brought up Floyd.
“Frank, you know that entire species have vanished,” she said, putting her coffee mug down. “Is Floyd still drinking water?” she asked, tilting her head slightly.
“No, he is napping on his favorite spot on the couch in the living room,” I lied again.
“The Woolly Mammoth, Sabre-Toothed Tiger and the Dodo were raptured.” She stared directly into my eyes. Hers were so beautifully blue that, even in her poor condition, they often took my breath away.
“You could be right, Ginger. Who knows?” I leaned over to kiss her cheek.
“The Fergusons’s cat passed away last week. He was almost twenty years old,” I said, carefully.
“That’s too bad. I know how they loved that fluff ball.”
I tapped my phone, bringing it out of sleep to display the background photo. Ginger, Ralph, and I from years ago, in our garden, laughing. I wish that I could dive into that image, swim in that joyous moment.
“How old is Floyd now?” I asked.
She continued to focus on a spot in the center of the kitchen.
“There wasn’t a cat rapture, though, as I saw that orange one out back last night,” she said.
“I don’t think there are mini-raptures, and especially not dog raptures. I think animals go directly to Heaven when they are no longer needed on Earth. Don’t you agree, Ginger?”
“Frank, for the last time, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids dog raptures.”
She had me there. I know the Bible well, and there are no passages that forbid dog raptures. I decided to not labor the point.
“I wonder, Ginger, would it be so bad if Floyd went to Heaven before us?” I said, resting my left hand on top of hers.
Ginger considered that for a few minutes.
“I sure would miss him, Frank,” she said, in a quiet voice. “But I would not want to deny him Heaven, either.” Her voice trailed off.
I stood up to get the coffee pot and freshen her mug. I added a little cream and sugar. Standing against the counter, I rubbed my hand across my face and took in a deep breath.
“Don’t you think, Ginger, that even if God took Floyd to Heaven, that Floyd’s presence would still be with us in this house? God would not take that away from us, would He?”
Ginger looked up into my face, her blue eyes clear and filled with tears.
“I hope not, Frank. I hope not.”