This is True Love
Fur in my face, sweet, warm, soft. I roll over into the vague,
wet-dog smell and inhale deeply. I burrow deeper into my dog’s back,
annoying him, and with enormous effort he struggles his old body into
another position, a few inches further from my nose. He lifts his
heavy head, gives me ‘the look’ and settles deeply into my husband’s
Beasley knows his master is away and the bed is ours. He knows that I
don’t mind the grit beneath us, shaken off as he lumbered up; knows I
like the blankets scrunched and balled around us and the sheet tangled
beneath us; knows I love the popcorny smell of his paws and his low
We are so bold. Up on the bed.
My husband is gone for two weeks and during this time there will be no savory smells in the kitchen, no bright and bleached laundry to fold, no spanking clean sheets. We are alone, the dog and I, and we come and go as we please. I call out for pizza and the Big Bease and I, we share.
Some days we get in the car and drive for hours, we never say where we
are going or when we are coming home. We drive with my elbow sticking out one window and his muzzle out the other. I tell Bees-Knees my darkest secrets, my grandiose plans and my little hopes. He thinks they are terrific. I ask him how come he can stick his nose out the window at 40 miles an hour and be cool, but
go totally nuts, really whacko if I blow in his face. I ask him if he
really dreams about chasing rabbits.
Our days of freedom and bliss fly by. We are happy: romping and
playing and doing our thing. But then, at the end of the second week,
the house is a shambles, our stomachs ache from the junk, and all at
once, we get sick of the fun. Again and again, Beasley jerks up,
cocks his head hopefully then collapses back down, disappointed at the
sound of the wrong car.
He drags himself, hang-dog, over to me, lays his head in my lap and
looks up accusingly, “What have you done, buried him in the back
“One more day,” I say and pat my sad dog’s head. But there is no
consoling him. He’s sick of the good life and wants me to go back
there and dig him up. I am a little hurt. My Beasty Boy loves me, but
I am not the love of his life. I’m merely the stand-in, a good-time
girl. He misses his master and wants him back. When
the cab pulls up, the front door finally opens, and he is home,
Beasley flings himself against those familiar legs, leaps into waiting
arms, licks and cries and wags and whimpers for joy. And suddenly I
know, this is true love. A love so great that an old dog gladly gives
up the pillows and blankets and sheets and sleeps again, on the floor,
by the bed.
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