Pancho wasn’t the smartest dog, but he was adorable. He was a Pomeranian. Not too big, not too small. Just the right size. Cute enough to make you smile and cuddle him real tight. The only annoying thing about him was his bark. It was sharp and shrill, and bit into your ears. And once he started, he just couldn’t stop.
Mom said Pancho reminded her of dad. Or maybe Pancho was dad. The old man had passed away a year ago. His liver had finally given up on him. Too much booze and mindless chatter. Dad could talk about anything with anyone. In fact, he didn’t need someone to have a conversation. A lengthy monologue was fine by him.
The man would sit in his chair on the porch and talk to the sky above and the ground below. And that’s what Pancho did too. He’d spread himself out at the exact same spot and bark for hours together. It’s a good thing our nearest neighbor lived a half mile away, or else they’d have a thing or two to complain about.
And when Pancho tired of his barking, he’d roll over on his back, legs in the air, and sleep for a few hours. That’s what dad did too, but his arms and legs stayed in a more decent position. It wasn’t just the barking and odd hours of sleeping that made us think the old man may have come back.
It was the way Pancho stared at dad’s picture in the hallway. His fluffy white head tilted upwards. His soft whimpers barely audible. It was unusual. We often tried to snap him out of his daze, but he’d growl and bare his teeth. If it really was dad, then his nature hadn’t changed much.
Mom was convinced that Pancho was her deceased husband. So she treated him the same way she treated dad when he was alive. She fed Pancho and stayed out of his way, smacking his bottom if he crossed the line of doggy manners, or relieved himself anywhere but his designated place by the rose bush. Beyond that she simply ignored him.
One day, I found Pancho and a scrawny, black pooch in a compromising position. The two of them were enjoying the heat of the moment. My mom shouted from somewhere behind me.
‘See, I told you it’s your dad! Loved getting it on with any sleazy woman! Damn son of a bitch!’
It’s his fault that she’s blind now. She can never forgive him. Sightless Eyes Cry Too when torn between love and hate.