Love Is Blind

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Homer's Protective Side

If you'd asked me a day earlier I would have sworn that Homer would never attack anybody, that even if for some altogether unimaginable reason he departed from his usual happy-go-lucky nature, the sound of my "No!" would have stopped him instantly. Homer was a daredevil and a mischief-maker, but he never disobeyed me outright. This fact was a cornerstone of our relationship, one of the fundamental qualities, apart from his blindness, that set him apart.

Yet in that moment I knew that, if Homer decided to attack this man, I would be unable to stop him. The only question was how clawed-up and bloodied this burglar, or I, or both of us, would get in the process of trying to subdue him.

It had been just seconds since I'd switched on the lamp, and my next move was so obvious I couldn't believe I hadn't done it already: I picked up the phone and started to dial 911.

"Don't do that," the man said, speaking for the first time.

I hesitated for the briefest instant, then looked over at Homer. Be like Homer, a voice in my head urged. Act tougher than you really are.

"Go to hell," I said to the man and finished dialing.

Then everything seemed to happen at once. "There's somebody in my apartment!" I screamed into the phone as Homer finally sprang into action. He might not have realized how very much smaller he was than this man standing menacingly over my bed, but he did know how to pinpoint a location based on sound. By speaking, the intruder had let Homer know precisely where he stood.

With a loud hiss that bared his fangs (which, until this moment, I'd naively thought of as "teeth"), Homer thrust the whole weight of his body forward and brought his right front leg into the air, stretching it up and out so far that it looked, bizarrely, as if the bone connecting his leg to his shoulder had come out of its socket. His claws extended even further (good Lord, how long were they?). Glinting like scythes in the lamplight, they slashed viciously at the intruder's face, missing by a fraction of an inch -- and only because the man reflexively snapped his head back.

"Okay, ma'am, I'm dispatching officers now," the 911 operator said. "Stay on the phone...."

I never heard the rest, because at that point the intruder turned and ran. Homer, his tail still upright, leaped from the bed and raced after him.

"Homer!" My shriek was unlike anything that had ever come out of my own mouth. It made my throat feel torn and bloody. "Homer -- No!"

I dropped the phone and sprinted after them. Like competing runners panting toward a finish line, two separate and distinct fears vied for primacy in my brain. The first was that Homer might actually catch up to the intruder. Who knew what this man would do if he saw Homer's talons coming at him a second time? But I was also terrified that Homer might chase the burglar out my front door and into the long, labyrinthine corridors of my apartment complex -- and, unable to see his way back home, be lost to me forever.

Continued on page 3:  Overwhelmed with Gratitude


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