The dog got sick last night on boy child’s bed. He took to the stairs, all hands and feet, to tell us. Sliced through a dream I never would’ve remembered had I not been wakened in its midst.
The beautiful blonde boy who lives three doors down in the castle-looking house? His folks fussed him out for making his like-Drew-Barrymore-in-E.T. little sister have bad dreams.
“Give her good ones,” the parents said. “Of silver and gold unicorns and pastel pink lollipops.”
Weird with a beard, I remember thinking as I sat on the back porch in my Me-Jane nightgown, sleep still wrapped around my head like gauze.
It was probably the anchovies. That made the dog hurl. No one but me knew they were in the substance that bathed the Cavatappi Nicoise. Gave it a mud-colored hue. The hairy slabs hid in the bell of the immersion blender, but I found all four of them. Whirled them into an omega 3-rich, silken sauce. Daisy, the not yet dead dog, received the rest of the fish on top of her kibble. Maybe one got stuck in her craw and she couldn’t stop the plunger action of her digestive system ‘til it evacuated.
The back porch light blinked Morse code messages into the night. Its motion sensor has never worked right. Not in the sixteen years we’ve lived in this house. I splayed my fingers on either side of my belly button. I was pregnant with the sandwich child the day we moved here.
I raked the mosquito bite on my neck and squinted out at the yard. In lightness and in dark, the dog snatched great mouthfuls of grass. Puppy Pepcid. After a bit, she disappeared over the hill. I waited for the sound of heaves but it never came. I’ll be mopping in the morning. Least she’ll be gated in the kitchen. Vinyl’s way easier to wash than quilt, sheets, and mattress pad.
I watched a leaf make its way to the ground, unable to resist gravity, all but a hint of green drained away. It’s almost time. Fall. Cooler weather, thankfully. Kids gone, all day, Monday through Friday. And then some. One down the hill to high school. Another a mile away to middle. The oldest off to college. Not here. She wanted to be anywhere but here. Reckon the others will say the same.
I counted on my fingers. It’ll be this way for the next seven years. Someone departing every autumn. Me mourning. Then a one-year break before boy child ventures out into the world. Five minus three will equal two.
I should’ve had six kids. That would’ve postponed the solitude. The quiet. The piercing. Right? Right?
The dog won’t even be here. She’ll be gone by then too. I’ll have no more messes to clean. Except for my own. Laundry baskets heaped with soaked handkerchiefs for sure.