Friday, January 18, 2008
A Refurbished Relationship (Part I)
Thirty years of ever increasing familiarity, implicit trust, comfortable ease, and oft times, duplicity of thought. That’s what life has become. There is little reason, anymore, to mind the relationship. No practical reason to take it out, examine it, polish it, or disassemble it.
As usual, we sit in silence lingering over coffee. Hub reads the paper. I rattle the keys on my laptop. I should perhaps ask, “Did you sleep well?” but the answer will be nothing striking. Maybe ‘yes’, maybe ‘no’, but it is all of too little consequence to pursue. So there is little verbal exchange.
After breakfast, Hub readies himself to take a quick trip into town. Two puppies hastily run to the car but Old Dog is not among them. I find her napping in the livingroom.
Old Dog is a bit deaf so I bend close and speak loudly words she readily understands. “Go”, “town”, “ride”, and “car”. Old Dog raises her furry little head, looks at me with disinterest, and returns to a sprawled position with her head resting on her paws. I urge her to ‘go’ with repeated appeals but it is obvious that Old Dog chooses to remain at home today. I feel her nose. I am puzzled when I find her nose is cold and wet and she shows no visible signs of distress.
In fact, I am more disturbed by Old Dog’s decision to stay home than I care to admit. She has never made this choice before. Even on occasional days when she looked ill and I found her nose papery-dry and warm to the touch. And so, for the first time in my life, I stand on the front step and announce to Hub, who is waiting in the car, that Old Dog is not coming. Hub blinks in astonishment. As shocked by this communication as I am.
And so Hub leaves and Old Dog stays. I watch from the door already knowing the routine. With the fresh snow, the temptation is too great. Hub spins the car in circles in the driveway. He ‘drifts’ (as the twin’s call it) burning circles of flying snow, and skidding out of the driveway on two wheels. It is disturbing but it can’t be helped. You can take the old man out of the kid but you can’t take the kid out of the old man.
Hub’s car rumbles by the window and I now expect Old Dog to come to the kitchen to let me know that it was all a dreadful mistake. That she was just joking and I should have known, and Hub should have known, that she really didn’t expect to be left. When she remains unmoving, I begin to think this unprecedented choice too far out of character to be dismissed. It is not something I can calmly dismiss as circumstance. It must be something more. Maybe an omen, handed down by the gods of fate and destiny, with critical and ominous meaning, that I need to take note of.
The thought is there but I push it aside so I can concentrate on other things. I already know that without other errands, Hub will be back within the hour.
But he isn’t. Time drags on. Two o’clock. Three o’clock. I pace the floor and finally start looking for his cell phone. I can’t find it. Good, he’s taken it. I’ll just call him to see why he is delayed.
(...to be continued)
NEXT POST: 2. Disturbing Thoughts