Tuesday, December 31, 2013


judy was 75 years old, slender, immaculately groomed and coiffed, gentle and insightful and had been my therapist for the better part of two years. she had helped me immeasurably in many areas of my life and now that simon had moved out i felt ready to try life on my own again. we'd spent weeks gearing up for our last session and as i opened the door to her home office, i felt happy and whole- absolutely ready to be finished with anything that resembled a loose end. judy greeted me with her usual warmth, but there was also something else; a nervous fluffing of pillows, unnecessarily straightening of various objects, micro expressions of worry that betrayed her smile. i said 'judy, what's going on?'. she took both my hands, looked into my eyes, took a deep breath to steady herself and answered, 'i want to be with simon.' i was sure i hadn't heard her correctly. 'what?' i whispered. 'you're finished with him and i just thought, well, i thought he might be perfect for me.' the grey matter in my cranium started to crackle and it sounded just like the clicking of an ascending roller coaster car. my thoughts became a swirl of every human moment i'd experienced for the last few years and i gripped her hands tighter to ground myself. i thought, 'oh, this is LIFE again. there are no rules about how it unfolds and no matter what happens, it's nothing personal.' i started to laugh. i thought about my fragile human need to keep order and 'make sense' of every event. i thought about dear judy, so lonely and so intrinsically good. i thought about simon who was simply drifting in space and how she could 'anchor' him. 'does he know?' i wondered aloud. 'no! i wanted to ask you first.!' i immediately went into strategic mode and mapped out the feasibility of simon accepting an intimate place in judy's life. i knew her years would become invisible to him once he saw her as a person and i knew from experience how compassionate and helpful she could be. 'ok,' i said, 'i'm sure i can convince him to be open to it.' judy and i quickly switched into 'girlfriend mode' and began to chatter about the possibilities. we were laughing and she said she'd had a wonderful spa date with mia and wanted me to come next time. i felt excited and happy.

Monday, December 30, 2013

the little dog

she felt happy at first as all the families and their pets passed by her yard on their way out for holiday leave. she wagged her tail, grinned and yapped sharply as each over-loaded car paraded slowly by. there was jax and his family, mouse-mouse meow-ling from the confinement of her crate (stupid cat), those three mean fat kids from near the playground and their long-suffering giant lab all smashed into the backseat of a family sedan. daisy had somehow managed to push her panting head out the 1/2 open window and barked back at the little terrier. more back and forth barking ensued and soon corporal levi was screaming from the driver's seat, SHUT UP!. it didn't matter to the little dog, he wasn't hers and she didn't have to listen to him. she doubled up her piercing, high-pitched yapping as poor daisy's mellow 'roofs' fell silent. the afternoon passed that way until the little dog had barked the last of the soldiers families off and away. she sat still for the first time that day as the dusk gathered around her. she looked toward the house. the lights were shining golden and warm from the windows. usually, she'd have been herded inside by now, but she could see her people were gesturing, barking and following each other from room to room. her woman repeatedly covered her face with her hands. the little dog watched for a long while and soon all the excitement of the day had been replaced with worry. the street was empty and now the dark had brought in wind with a cold bite. the little dog walked to the front door and scratched to be let in. the door opened immediately and the little dog scooted in as the man thundered out with a heavy bag. the woman closed the door and went into her bedroom where she crawled into her bed and cried. the little dog felt as though the earth itself was pressing her to the ground. she had never heard the woman make these sounds and the pure sadness of the sounds emptied all the happiness from the little dog until she was no more than a flat black hole on the hardwood floor.