Robert approached his front door balancing a bouquet of flowers, a bag of groceries and a basket of clean laundry when his older sister Vera opened it right as the laundry was about to fall in his effort to put the key in the door.  

“Thanks!” he laughed.  She’d been staying with him for a few months in what she called “regrouping”.  She’d had a tough time of life lately so he did what he could to keep her spirits up. In their youth that meant calling in sick on a Friday and spending a few nights dancing and getting drunk at the club.  Now all it took was a few fresh flowers and an occasional home cooked meal. 

When he left to work that morning she’d been in a morose mood but now she was smiling and chatting away about her day while putting the groceries away.  He didn’t think he could handle the moodiness of any other woman in the world except her and when she was done talking he asked,

“So, how’d you go from sad to giddy in a span of hours?” 

Vera stood in the middle of the kitchen holding a bag of onions with a mischievous grin.  

“Well, today I figured out the difference between puppy love and real love.” she answered.

“Guess I’ll go with the obvious. What’s the difference?” Robert asked.

“No matter what the world commands, real love never stops barking.” Vera replied.

Robert looked over at his two dogs content at their food bowls.  

“I dunno sis, maybe it does when it gets fed.” he said laughing.

“Ah you little shit, you know what I mean. You sure know how to ruin an ‘aha’ moment.  You’re lucky I like these flowers and your liver and onions.” Vera said walking away to find a vase.

“Yeah, well you’re lucky I love you so much I’d powder up organs to convince myself I’m making donuts while slicing onions to cover my real tears of disgust.” he said laughing.

Vera stopped and turned to face him,

“I know it’s not easy but I want you to know I appreciate the effort you put into everything. Thank you for letting me heal with you and for loving me as I am” she said while walking towards him to give him a hug.

“I love you and not just because you love me but truth be told, it sure does help” she giggled as he laughed again.