The reason I always keep my house keys in my pocket isn’t too far fetched. Our former apartment in Jersey City had a front door that was spring loaded, with more recoil than a shotgun. If you walked outside without your keys, you were locked out.
Because of Goose’s constant want to wander around outside, as well as my deep desire to keep him from getting bit by any dogs in the neighborhood, I went out a lot with him, always at night.
On one of those nights, when Heather was at work and I had somehow stumbled back onto the cathartic release of Converge’s 2001 album “Jane Doe,” I let Goose outside. It was fall, and the night was crisp, yet not cold enough to actually enjoy.
I turned the speakers up, cracked the window so I could hear the music, escorted Goose outside and watched him gracefully descend the brick staircase in front of our house. And that’s when the no key thing hit me.
I turned, ran back up the stairs and lunged for the front door just as it sealed shut, my keys still sitting next to my wallet on the table next to the inside of our front door. We were locked out, and Bob Scerbo, the kindhearted neighbor with my spare set of keys, was in the Bronx, close to an hour away despite being less than fifteen miles away.
Luckily, my phone was still in my sweatshirt pocket. I texted him and arranged a spare key pick up when he returned. But myself and Goose still had to wait close to an hour outside of the house with Converge blasting through the windows.
Soon enough, Goose tired of wandering the street, and returned to the front stoop, where I sat. I apologized to him, and he eventually took a seat with me on the stairs, watching the night pass us by. Typically, when Goose returned to the stoop, his routine was immediately followed by a rewarding meal. But on that night, he sat patiently next to me as the final chords of the last song on “Jane Doe” resonated inside our house, mere feet away.
Bob returned after some time, keys in hand, and all was forgotten. But I often think about that night on the stairs — Goose saw past my mistakes and patiently waited at my side, as the leaves fell all around us and Converge pelted the upstairs neighbors.