A Thrift Store Find

I recently rediscovered this poem. I wrote it back in late June, when we were deliberating about when was the right time to finally put down our own beloved dog. I guess I was processing through some emotions. This is beautiful and painful to me at the same time. 

Prompt: You buy a pair of pants from a thrift shop and notice when you get home there is a piece of paper in the pocket with an address and a future date and time on it…


A thrift store find
Designer jeans hanging on the line
A few shirts and shoes too
Take it all home, it’s better when used
Getting ready to wash
Find a slip in the back pocket
Friday July 7th
1441 South University
10:30 AM
Look at the calendar on wall
July 3rd, is that all?
My curiosity gets the best of me
I mark it down discreetly
Wanting a surprise
I keep the address from my eyes
Never looking it up first
Slowly the days crawl by
Wondering, waiting
Finally the 7th arrives
I put on my thrift store find
I make my way, old school, no GPS
Follow the streets, I can do the rest
I show up, a little strip mall
A vet, a grocer, a Christian book store
Only one takes appointments
I take a deep breath
Feeling weird, but knowing I’ve come too far
To go back now
I walk through the doors
Suddenly aware I have no pet with me
“Can I help you?”
I pause and smile, trying to think
“I’m meeting someone here,” I say
Now I’m really in all the way
They smile and go back to their work
I find myself a seat
Facing the door
Fifteen minutes to go
Will I even know?
Someone my age walks in
With a limping dog
The dog wags its tail, gets a treat
Seems like the kind of dog I’d like to meet
They spend some time
signing forms
And three more people walk in
I watch and wait
The german shepherd across from me
It cocks it head, wags its tail
“May I?” I ask
The owner nods, her eyes red
Clearly trying to hold it together
“Nice dog,” I say.
“Thanks,” she says. “Nice jeans.”
I smile.
“I used to have a pair like that,” she says.
The dog licks my hand
Up walks a man
“Hi, darlin’,” he says. “No room yet?”
She shakes her head.
I glance at him, eyes red too
Suddenly it dawns on me what they’re about to do
I stand up straight and swallow hard
I can see I’ve gone too far
“Nice dog,” I say once more
And rush quickly out the door
Tears filling my eyes
Not what I had in mind for a surprise
I sit in my car and cry
For the unfairness of life, wondering why
I must have sat too long
Because when I looked up
They came back out the door
But this time they were alone
I take a deep shaky breath
Time for me to go home