I woke up at 3:15 this morning. Yeah, you read that right—three friggin’ fifteen in the morning. I was having a dream, and in my dream, I really needed to go to the bathroom. I learned many years ago that dreams where you go to the bathroom mean get up NOW lest you awake in a puddle. So I got up and took care of things. Then I tried to go back to bed, and I tripped over the dog who has recently taken up residence on the floor of my side of the bed.
Tripping over the dog made me begin to think about the dog and why she was right up against my bed and about why I wouldn’t normally expect her to be there. She’s sixteen years old. Sixteen. I know. Crazy, huh? She isn’t even really my dog. She belongs to my brother. A little more than two years ago, my eleven-year-old beagle died of bladder cancer. Five months later, my little brother, who lives as far across the country from me as you can get without living in Hawaii or Alaska, called me in a panic. He couldn’t keep his dog where he was living and he didn’t know what to do. Could I please, please, please keep her? It’d just be for six months. Promise.
And I said okay. I mean, I’d kept her short-term before the Boy was born. He’d taken her back then. So the dog boarded a plane and flew two thousand eight hundred and ninety-five miles to come live with me. For six months. Six. Did I say six?
So, here we are twenty months later, and I am tripping over the dog who just recently has taken up residence on my side of the bed. She didn’t used to sleep there. She used to sleep under the bed, but we blocked that off because the lab-beagle stinkiness and the insane amount of fur shed was beginning to be problematic, so she decided to sleep in the corner of the bedroom. Then, during her trip to have her shots updated, the vet discovered a lump. The probable diagnosis: intestinal cancer; the likely time frame: a few weeks to a few months. This was the beginning of May. Shortly thereafter, she attached herself to me. She sleeps at my feet in the living room, on my feet at the dinner table, and next to me on the floor at night. This is the dog who never wanted anything to do with any of us, who used to sulk in corners and hide under the bed all the time. It’s heartbreaking.
She’s begun having accidents on the dining room floor—she doesn’t usually have accidents. Yesterday, there was blood. This is how it all happened before. Last time we spent six agonizing months and almost four thousand dollars on surgeries and medicines, and I just can’t….
So anyway, that’s why I found myself awake. Thinking can be a bitch sometimes, can’t it?
I got up and stumbled around in the dark, looking for my book light. I couldn’t find it. So then I decided to go downstairs to get some water. Somehow, I found myself putting the laundry that I’d washed last night into the dryer. That led to putting another load of laundry into the washer, and somehow—I don’t know how, that led to me emptying the dishwasher, which led to me sweeping the kitchen floor. Long story short, I now sit here at six-thirty a.m., with the sun rising behind me, on the couch in the spotless downstairs with swept floors, polished tables, put-away dishes, and folded laundry.
And, as I sit here watching all of the perky people power-walk outside in the early morning hour, I think to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?”