Icy butterflies fluttered back and forth inside my ribcage, refusing to let me forget just how excited I was. It was a moment I’d been looking forward to for so long. Now that it was here, my hands and feet tingled with electricity, a silly grin sticking to my face like glue.
No matter how careful I was, the front gate still creaked on rusty hinges. A golden bridge of midmorning sun illuminated the path to the front door. I wondered if she’d hear me approach, or if I’d be able to surprise her.
Three long months had passed already. Three months of living with a piece of my soul missing. Three months of feeling incomplete. I knew she’d been staying with a friend during that time so she wouldn’t be alone, but I’d gotten a text about an hour ago saying that she was back home, waiting for me.
Now that I was this close, I couldn’t wait any longer. I ran up the front steps.
The long nights without her had dragged like an anchor, echoing with emptiness. All alone, I’d missed her companionship, knowing how much she probably missed me in return.
My key scratched the lock. The deadbolt slid open with a scrape of promise.
She must have heard that last, and as I pushed open the door I could make out the patter of running feet, saw her tearing around the corner leading to the kitchen, sliding across the wood floors. Her golden hair flew out behind her as she jumped into my arms.
I snatched her out of the air, smiling like a lunatic. “Hey! I missed you! You have no idea.”
I pulled my head back for a moment. We stared at each other.
Then, with a whine, she licked my face.
I laughed, the sound resonating deep in my chest. “Glad to see you missed me, too.”
I put her back down on all fours and scratched behind her ears. She whined, tail wagging like a weapon, tongue flashing out again and again. Her entire body vibrated with excitement, and I was whole again.