The big black dog.
Costello was a part of that house as much as the headlights from Oakland Bridge beaming into the living room, as much as the empty cans cluttering the coffee table alongside the tv remote and photograph of Mat’s family. The real one, not this one that his mom had left on a Saturday evening on the way home from a trip to the pharmacy to fill her husband’s prescription for cholesterol medication. Mat’s dad named Costello after his wife, back when Alison wasn’t dead, and Mat was young and Mat’s dad decided his boy needed a companion so he wouldn’t seek bad company. Mat’s dad loved that line from that Elvis Costello song, fingers lying in the wedding cake. And he loved that song because he loved his wife and a man must love a song that share it’s name with the love of his life. Costello grew up faster than expected, and by the time Mat was in the back alley killing baby birds and setting off firecrackers with me and Josh, Costello was already wearing a stain into the green carpet beside Mat’s father’s armchair.