It was a nice warm day.
Charo was enjoying his walk and saw Candy.
"Candy! Where are you going?"
"Oh, Charo! To the hospital. Chris is going to have heart surgery pretty soon."
"I didn't know that. You must be worried."
"Yes, but Chris tells me not to. He says everything is going to be just fine."
"What? I'm in a hurry."
Candy started to walk ahead, Charo ran after her.
Candy kept talking, but the tone of her voice, made Charo had been worried.
"I can go up to Chris's room and Aunt Charlotte is with me. But she is busy so I always wait for him outside. Oh, Aunt Charlotte is Chris's aunt. I'm staying with her while Chris is in the hospital. She's very nice, you know. And..."
"Are you all right?"
"Wha...me? Of course I'm all right. Aunt Charlotte takes good care of me. I can sneak out and walk around as much as like. I'm free! What more can I ask for? "
But in fact, Candy was crying.
Charo ran after her and licked off her tears.
"I'm lonely. I'm worried too. I know I shouldn't be complaining. But
I'm scared. I don't know what's going on, and I'm really, really scared."
Charo understood what Candy was going through.
He felt the same way when he found himself all alone at the airport.
"Aunt Charlotte wants me to enter a dog show this weekend. She thinks I have a good chance. And then, next week she's going to Chicago. I'm supposed to go with her. Everything is moving so quickly, I can barely keep up."
"But, you can see Chris today. You will be fine."
Talking with Charo made Candy feel much better.
"Come to think of it, I really don't know much about you. What was your owner's name?"
"Shota. He is eight."
"What's he doing now?"
"I... don't know. He's in Japan."
"He must be waiting for you."
"Yes... But look. I have this red star. You told me about it. I can go back if I wear this. Right?"
Candy remembered the story she had made up.
The red star was shining around his neck, and this almost made her cry again.
After entering an alley and turning a few corners, Charo and Candy got to the backyard of the hospital.
They crawled under the fence and sneaked in.
There are many hospital patients who were enjoying the sun.
"I hope he comes out today. Oh, there is! Chris! Chris!"
But Chris had just gone inside and was being pushed back to his room.
He was in the wheelchair.
Candy barked but he didn't notice.
"Chris! I'm here! I came to see you! Come back!"
Two of the guards were approaching.
Charo caught Candy by the tail and tugged.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
"They are coming to get us. Let's go."
Charo led Candy out to the alley. Candy kept crying all the way.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry, but..."
"I know. We had to leave anyway. It was the best choice."
"You don't have to apologize. You did the right thing for both of us. But I just wanted to be with Chris. I just..."
Candy kept crying and crying. Until finally she calm down.
"At least I got a quick look at him today... And I can always try again tomorrow."
"Hey, Charo. Would you come to the dog show with me this weekend?"
"I really don't want to go, but if a friend could join me, it wouldn't be that bad."
"Yes, sure. I can go with you."
Candy brightened up. Charo was happy, too.
He was enjoying the sound of the word "friend".
It echoed in his heart leaving him warm inside for a very long time.