So much goes in circles. The way one black fur coat sheds into another, and who knows if the dog underneath really changes. I know that I was born with one eye closed, and Phantom died with one eye open. I know the way the way I held her close to my chest for sixteen years is the same instinct that drew me into the arms my parents as a baby.
One of my favorite early memories is of bringing Phantom to my second grade classroom. She was my early birthday present that year, and Mrs. Katz said I could bring her in for show and tell. Of the visit, I remember joy, pride, the knowledge that she was my one precious being. Before anyone told me I should look for a soulmate, I knew I had one. Her name was difficult, it required a quest. I looked into her eyes, and over and over again, I searched through her movements, her tiny legs trodding the ground. My neighbor friends suggested Bubbles, Lowbelly, Black Beauty. I tried the names on her but none of them fit. Who was she?
One day, I played my Phantom of the Opera cassette tape. I’d been to the opera in Boston with my mom earlier that year, and I kept the program under my bed. I understood some of the story, but it was the music that I truly loved. The way the notes went up and down like a bird swooping over a city skyline, the White Mountains, waves rolling and crashing on the Maine coast. She snuggled up to me on the couch and we listened. This was my little Phantom.