Through the glass door I looked at the three gals and the front desk. But I didn’t go in.
Last week I went by. And a couple weeks before that, scoping the place out. Once I even opened the door, but then thought better of it.
I am not trying to restrain myself from getting another dog. Greta and Marlowe are quite enough for me in the dog department.
What I am trying to do is apologize.
Rewind six months to last June. Alicia was really sick and I was spending most of my time in Sacramento with her. Best dog helper ever, Kayla was graciously flexible with scheduling. A couple of times I texted her, “know I’m supposed to leave in two days, but I need to leave now.” “Do whatever you need to. I’m here.”
For three months everything was an emergency. Alicia got sicker. Appointments, hospice, chemotherapy. The news was always bad. We did our best to make sure that the time Alicia did have was a pleasant as possible. It was hard to be there. And harder not to be there.
For a rare couple of days I was going to be home, so I could breathe, take an exercise class, hug Greta and Marlowe. Breathe some more.
Opened the cupboard where I always keep a spare bag of dog food. Nothing.
I hyperventilated. No more dog food?? Geez. How long have I been away? I was about to go to Pilates and after that, dinner time. I scooted into a pet store near Pilates and picked up a bag. ARG. Realized a few minutes later it wasn’t the right kind, which is Science Diet for Toy and Small Breed dogs. Pet Food Express doesn’t sell it. The day was ending, and my panic was increasing.
Someone suggested the SPCA, which has specialty foods and a vet on staff. So I walked in. And the fellow behind the counter gave me a whole sheaf of forms to fill out. “I just want to buy dog food.”
“We have to start a file.”
I started to cry. Really crying. Not just the catch in the throat, but the where-is-a-tissue kind.
The crying was not about the dog food. “I can fill out the forms for you,” he said. He was maybe 25, with a tattoo on his neck, a little square. And he was the soul of kindness.
“I just need a little dog food!” They didn’t have the kind they eat. “Something that won’t make them sick. What”…more crying….”am I going to DO?”
“Clearly you are going through something,” the guy looked around for help, but there was none to be had….just like for Alicia…. “give me a second.”
I stood there, crying, like my dog food was the end of the world.
He dug in a cupboard and handed me a can. “Wet food is easier to digest. This is a sample. Good luck to you…”
“How much do I owe you?”
“Nothing. It’s a sample.”
For the last six months I’ve been trying to apologize to that man. Also have wanted to apologize for the late-cancel appointments, for the shortness of temper, for being presumptuous at so many turns.
Since then, whenever I see someone behaving strangely I think….maybe her sister is dying.