Dearest Rachel –
The other night, when I sent Chompers down outside to do his last bit of business before attempting to put him to bed, he would not stop walking. Before I knew it, he had practically wandered over in front of the Matije’s house next door (and I know I just spelled Mrs. M’s name wrong, but I can never remember how it’s supposed to be).
Tonight, however, he’s just standing around. His head darts from side to side, as if he’s wondering why he’s out here in the first place. And eventually, his front legs slowly slide out in front of him, lowering his chin to the concrete. He’s just not feeling it tonight.
It’s kind of reflective of myself tonight. I have so many topics that I’ve gotten started, so many things I want to talk to you about at some point, but nothing I can really focus on it in order to get put together to send out to you. And so I’m just kind of standing here, just like Chompers, not really sure what to do.
At which point, it occurs to me: I might as well just tell you that, and let that be the topic for tonight. That is, assuming that Chompers doesn’t get impatient with me, since he still doesn’t seem to have any real idea why he’s out here, and would prefer to go back inside, apparently.
I don’t blame him. Tonight is what the weatherman referred to as ‘a good night for sleeping.’ The humid ear hangs hot and heavy around us. It would be a lot more pleasant if there was a bit more of a breeze, but there isn’t, and we have to live with it – or, more to the point, without it. It’s the kind of night where you just don’t want to do anything, and you find yourself just standing around. You don’t even want to think, let alone write.
It doesn’t exactly help that I’m still groggy from having been woken up from my nap that I’ve learned to take while Chompers is doing the same. The thing is, at that point I’m not quite ready to wake up when he is. So my mind is in even more of a fog than just this heavy air that surrounds us which, if we could put four cedar walls around it and export it to Finland, we could make a pretty penny. After all, those folks do love their saunas.
Come to that, so did we from time to time. But that’s a completely different story, to be saved for another day.
Anyway, you know me: always going after that little dopamine hit. Well, you ought to remember what that was like, especially with your Candy Crush and Gardens of Time. I know I’ve needled you about it before, but it bears repeating. Especially since now I understand you a little better on that score.
Still, eventually he gets tired of waiting for me to pick him up and bring him back in. He’s done all he wants to do, and stayed outside as long as he wants to (and then some), and would just as soon come in. It’s a good thing Siri can’t quite hear him; I’m not sure how she would interpret his whines as I dictate this to her.
So I bring him inside, set them down near the floof – not in it, mind you; if I do that, he can’t move from there, and he doesn’t like that one bit – and hand him his treats. It occurs to me how, before you left us, I would never do this. I hated the smell of those things on my hand (actually, I hated his smell on my hand, as well) and I was also quite afraid of him nipping at my fingers as he lunged for each treat. I actually don’t know how it is that I’ve gotten used to his reactions. Perhaps his bites have gotten weaker with age. Perhaps I just got to the point where I tolerate it. Perhaps I just… don’t feel that I have the luxury of a choice.
The weird thing is, now that he’s back inside, I’ve gone through the entire bedtime ritual including those treats with the hemp oil that are supposed to call him down, it’s only now that he insists on wandering around, trying to find a spot in the entire half of the bedroom where he’s comfortable enough to fall asleep… eventually. Meanwhile I’m sitting here on your edge of the bed, keeping a close eye on him, nudging him as he seems to need it in his efforts to go… wherever it is he’s trying to get. It’s frustrating that I don’t know where he wants to go – and I’m fairly certain neither does he. Can’t bring him to a destination if he doesn’t know where that destination is.
Still, this long drawn out routine allows me the time to describe it to you – not that you don’t already know what it’s like, I suppose. After all, I expect that you lived this for however many years – putting him (and yourself) to bed at these crazy late hours of the night. Yeah, he’s probably a lot more crippled than he was back when you were around, but I imagine he was just as hard to get to sleep even then.
And for you, it was all part and parcel of owning a dog, having your little ‘fur baby,’ as you would call him. For my part, this wasn’t exactly something I’d bargained on. But here we are.
As I’m telling you this, he’s lying on his side, with one of his back legs kicking as if he’s suffering from restless leg syndrome. I nudge him up, and he wanders around a bit before – ironically – getting his back legs tangled up in the floof. His pants for a bit, kicks a little, his tail twitching… but eventually appears to go dormant. Not completely, as his eyes seem to stay open, but he’s not struggling anymore, nor is he whining or yelping. He’s just sort of surrendering to it all.
And maybe at this point, so should I. Goodnight, darling. I’ll talk more with you later.