Katie Gutierrez | Longreads | September 2019 | 13 minutes (3,370 words)
On the side of a busy road, I called her name: Lola! Lola! Flaxen weeds blew at my knees. Traffic a blur of painted metal. She could be anywhere. And then I saw her — a black pug parting the grass, running toward me. I took her into my arms and pressed my forehead against hers, relief stinging sweet.
I told Adrian about the dream with my eyes still closed. We had only been living together for two weeks, since he’d moved to San Antonio from Sydney to be with me. We’d known each other since we met on a cross-continental flight 10 years earlier, though we’d only been together, long-distance, for the last two years.
When he didn’t respond, I opened my eyes. He was grinning at a Craigslist photo: a black pug puppy drooping in slim-fingered hands. She looked like a child’s school project: clumsily glued googly eyes, pink felt tongue.
“We can’t,” I said, laughing, but he was already sending the email.
We drove to a neighborhood in northwest San Antonio. It was March, and the puppies looked like miniature seals, basking, all shiny black fur and skin rolls. They were big for their age, except for the only girl, the runt in the back corner. At first we passed one of the boys back and forth. Then the girl, who instantly crawled up our necks, her sharp puppy claws sticking like burrs in the collars of our shirts. She licked our chins, swiping at our ears and cheeks.
“This is her, isn’t it?” Adrian asked.
I nodded, thrilled and mystified at where we found ourselves, all because of a dream.
“What should we name her?” I asked.
“I think it has to be Lola,” he said.