Learning to Fall: while you were asleep. At home the first day back it was like when I broke my arm only like, maybe, times a thousand-million. I can hardly remember how many people were there welcoming me with a party and cake and ice cream and kids playin' wiffle ball in the back yard and real root beer floats and everything.
I didn't have much fun, though. I was tired and give out from the first trip home in a while. Stayin' awake more than the hour or two I did stayin' in my hospital bed made even a two hour party seem like forever. But the worst thing was watching Dad.
Dad stood around with a beer in his hand and would look out the window now and again like he was waiting for someone. I knew right away he was lookin' for Gill, only Gill wasn't ever gonna' come through our door or any other door again.
While I was in the hospital the police released his body from the medical examiner's office and they had a funeral service at the church where Ms. Harriet teaches Sunday school. I don't remember Gill ever goin' to church but I'm sure he didn't care much about it since he was dead.
Later on, after all the people went home and Momma was helping me get my jammies on over the cast on my arm, I asked her how Dad was doin'. She told me in a sad voice that he was feelin' worse than I was over losin' Tribble 'cause Dad and Gill were like brothers and Tribble is just a dog. I had an idea what he was feelin' though, since I lost my best friend and my dog.
He and me are gonna need new friends, I was thinkin', then I fell asleep.