Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Life Of Reilly (RIP 2005 -2016)

I never could get Reilly on the squash court. She was a sweet girl, portly, short legged and always greeted me and my son early in the morning when we were headed off to the squash courts at LA Fitness for our training. She would take early morning walks with her mom, Robin, and over the years my son and I grew to love her like she was our own. We would jokingly tell her, "come with us, Reilly, we have extra rackets, you don't need shoes, and we could probably fit you for protective eye wear." We even went so far as to point out that squash would get her seriously fit. Walking with her mom must have been very special, because Reilly was content to walk around our complex and, in all the years, never took us up on our offer. Even some nice crispy breakfast biscuits wouldn't entice her to join us. When we came back from our training, there was Reilly and Robin, still walking about and exploring the early morning. They had been out the entire time we were at the courts. I would remark to my son, "can you imagine how good we could make her? Look at her low gravity, and her grace, and dedication, for a kid that big to move around like that is something." He would just remind me that not everyone and everything in the world wants to play squash. I would look at him, not really understanding what he could possibly mean. He would just shrug his shoulders and I would go on about maybe Reilly and how she could be a champion some day. In retrospect, I might have succeeded if I had convinced Robin, her mom, to join us on the court. Surely, Reilly would have wanted to join in. The two were inseparable. Sometimes, if Robin had to travel, Robin's sister, Lisa, would take care of Reilly. I could tell if Robin wasn't around, because Reilly didn't have the same spring in her steps, she seemed sad. I would always try and cheer her up, "Reilly girl, you look sad, Mommy will be home soon, don't you worry, she always comes home." I would jokingly remark to Lisa, "What are you, Gals, feeding this girl?" I made sure Reilly never really heard me because I'd never want to hurt her feelings. But, in retrospect, Reilly was confident and you could tell she was brought up to love herself and didn't adhere to any of the usual body images of svelte young things plastered on the Purina and Pedigree bags of food in the store. She never fell for that. I miss you, girl, you could have been a champion, don't tell Robin that, you were always her champion. I don't go in the early mornings with my son anymore to train for squash, he's in law school now, and Reilly has passed, but I go to a different club, and I still leave in the early morning to go and do a bit of coaching and playing. With Reilly gone, I don't see Robin much. Reilly is the one that got away, I guess. She had all the makings of something really great, it didn't take squash to do that, but it would have been nice to have given squash that opportunity. She didn't pass because of her weight, she ate well, she was a bon vivant, but it was some strange disease, called leptospirosis, Lisa told me, that is deadly to dogs. Robin always scolded Reilly for eating the grass at times (call it mother's intuition), who knew such a disease was in the grass, raccoon or rodent urine and droppings. It took me awhile to get over the shock that the old girl is gone, but I found solace in getting on court and hitting countless rails, always thinking what might have been and what once was. Someday, I might just get her on that big court somewhere and I bet she'll be running diagonals, as if she was born to it. She really did have the life of Reilly, even without ever having set foot on the squash court.

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