Monday, May 25, 2015

A Toast to Tomorrow

            The weight of the morning sat heavy on his chest.  He had carried the bags of a dozen months of cohabitation down to her car, and then watched as she drove off.  It is not often that one gets to watch their memories leave in such a physical manner.  There were so many memories; much more history than the past year might suggest.  The two had been co-workers, friends, co-conspirators, mutual consolers during each one’s breakup, but more than anything, they were the anchor that held the other from drifting into turbulent waters.
            There had been plenty of good times, a few not-so-good, but nothing really bad, at least not that he could think of, but then good, bad and indifferent are always a matter of personal perspective.  Whatever they had had in the past was moot; she took her things under the guise that their two lives could no longer be blended, and that both of them carried too much destructive baggage.
            The house felt abandoned while a satellite radio station spewed a steady stream of music from the 70s; he had hoped that old memories might quell the pain of the newer ones, but Hall and Oates, Jimmy Buffett and Rod Steward kept lamenting about broken hearts and lost loves.  The music didn’t do justice to the ebbing weekend.  The past few days had been spent smiling and laughing, drinking libations alfresco with quiet conversations and intimate dinners.  There had been no unreasonable expectations; they both knew the visit was to retrieve the balance of her belongings and to close the doors left ajar when she suddenly disappeared so many months ago.  It was intended as a happy ending, and in spite of the weight, it had been.
            The weekend’s evenings, mottled by wine and the fatigue of unpracticed activities, ended in bed together as always, and as always, without the intimacy they both needed and were both too afraid to let happen. 

            Their time together was over; she was gone and he set about straightening the house to fill the void.  It was an easy decision to leave the sheets until tomorrow; another night with her scent to stir his dreams would be good.  But he closed the bathroom door in a vain effort to ignore the barren vanity bereft of its collection of creams and lotions.
            Washing her favorite coffee cup and placing it back in the cupboard, the mental echo of her parting promise to visit again brought a smile to the corner of his lips.  It was, as he knew, an empty promise; one meant to assuage the sadness of their goodbye and not something to dwell on with anticipation.  Yes, there would be phone calls, texts and emails, but like the oil and vinegar that tastes so good together on tossed greens, in stillness, they can’t remain together.  Their days were over, and like the waning light of a sunset, their conversations would soon fade into the stillness of night.  She had been right; he could no more live her life than she could his.

            Rikki, don’t lose that number, sang in the background as he pulled a pizza from the freezer.  Life again would return to wordless nights of sophomoric television, meals eaten over the sink and a lonely, cold bed.  If blame needs to be laid, the target was not obvious.  Pouring a first glass of wine, he stepped onto the deck to watch the sun creep toward the horizon of experiences not yet lived; he wondered where she was, and if in her heart, she felt deflated or relieved.  With the revelation that she was no longer his worry, some of the heaviness lifted.  He raised a glass to the distant vista, “To the good times past, and to lives not yet lived.”

Rikki, don't lose that number,
You don't wanna call nobody else;
Send it off in a letter to yourself.
Rikki, don't lose that number,
It's the only one you own.
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo and canine organized sports

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Yeah, I know, sort of anticlimactic after yesterday’s Star Wars festivities (May the Fourth be with you!)

But I celebrated a little differently.  Have you ever stood on a cliff face and wondered what it would be like to step over the edge?  Okay, I know that sounds a little too morbid, especially coming from somebody who is chronically depressed, but in a way, that's what I did yesterday.

I was on the way to town; I had to drop off a bank deposit and pick up a couple of essentials from the grocery store.  It was a beautiful warm day; I had both dogs with me and I thought why not (eerie music plays: bum bum bummmm), let's stop at the dog park.

OMG!  Trying to get two leashed dogs from the appropriately named parking lot into the park was like trying to unbraid a Rastafarian's hair.  The tethers were going in every direction at once, and of course, every blade of grass, tuft of shrubbery, tree trunk and fence post had to be individually sniffed and then peed on.

When I at last got them both going in the same direction and we crossed the bridge that separates the skateboard park from the dog park, I was pleasantly surprised that there were only two dogs in the huge enclosure.  This was Cory’s first outing, and I had some mental reservations about how he would socialize with other dogs.  I had little to worry about; after the requisite butt checks, the four little guys set about frolicking. 

I was conversing with two mommies about breeds, adoption and personalities when another mommy came with her two dogs.  Then another arrived, and then two more, and two more, and then three parents simultaneously, each with two of their own.  Soon there were in excess 30 canines running about the park.

The dogs eventually broke out in four or five packs, each with a self-elected alpha quarterbacking the activities.  There were the occasional skirmishes within the squads; sometimes a parent would have to intervene as a referee, but most of the time it was settled by a negotiated trade with one of the other teams.

The fun came as each new arrival would enter through the double gated sally port.  All the teams would rush the new recruit and vie to draft him or her onto their team.  This frequently ended in loud arguments between multiple alphas, and often involved a parent or two venturing into the swirling tempest of snarling muzzles in order to separate the running backs from the defensive linemen.

One of the more entertaining sights was when my Sebastian would be taunting a big dog (he loves to play with dogs at least four times as large as he), and he would get in the big guy’s face (literally, he stands on his back feet and puts his front paws on the other dog’s face), sometimes the bigger dog would react with an end around blitz that would knock poor Sebastian to the ground.  It would not deter my little guy; he is confident that his 20 pounds of spry, cunning offense is no match for any 100 pound defensive linebacker.  But every time Sebastian was knocked over, Cory would sprint from whatever third string practice squad he was assigned to, and pounce on the big dog to defend his brother.  I would have to jump in and tell Cory it was okay, that Sebastian and his friend were only playing and that he’d better get back to his own team or he would get cut (again) and have to sit on the bench during the games.

Eventually the length of their tongues dangling from their mouths told me it was time to get the leashes reattached and head back to truck where I had a cold bottle of water waiting to quench their well-earned thirst.

It was good for all of us to get out, and I think I enjoyed it almost as much as they did.  There is little doubt that we will be visiting the park again soon.