It Feels Like Home to Me

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If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and,

prospectively, to equally profound sadness.-Marjorie Garber

I stood in front of the large metal sink and giggled to myself. Ozzy, the Golden Retriever waited expectantly for me to start dousing him with warm water.

“Oh aren’t you a little sweetie pie. I just love you,” I said in a soothing tone as I patted his muzzle.

In response, he snuggled my cheek and gave me a quick lick with his tongue. My heart melted. As I sprayed him with the directional nozzle, I thought about the last six months. I’d had every weekend off, but I didn’t feel complete. I missed my Salon Bitches. I missed the barking dogs. The nail clippings, the baths, the smells, and even the occasional nip by the anxious and scared puppy.

I missed being doused with water and the exhaustion that came with heaving dogs up and down from the grooming table. I missed seeing the end result of the bathing process. My dogs are divas when they prance out to their pet parents. They know they look good.

I missed Marlena, Clara,  Humphrey, and Clark. My life wasn’t complete without them. They are my other children.

Marlena had just given Clark a Mohawk. He looked so damn handsome. I placed my arms around him and braced myself. I knew his hug would be fierce. It was as I expected. Intense; warm.

Marlena and I shared secrets and tears. God, how I missed her warm embrace and the sweetness of her heart.

Clara walked in and started dancing around and giving me precious hugs. Her blonde hair is finally shoulder length. She is more beautiful than I remember.

Humphrey came in not much later and gave me hugs and dry humps. He yelled, “Don’t you ever leave us again, you whore.” I responded, “I promise I won’t. As long as you keep calling me a whore, ya slut.”

There were nails  to trim. Stories to tell. Lives to catch up on. Dogs to wash. Ears to clean. Gossip to share. Hair clippings to be swept up. Hearts to mend…

During the course of the day I silently observed Marlena, Clara and Humphrey. I wondered how I could have stayed away. I belonged here.

I finished washing Ozzy. Taking care to cover his eyes when I was rinsing his head. Then I expertly dried him with the high velocity blow dryer. By the time Ozzy was dry, I looked like an 80’s hair metal god. I removed him from the tub and walked him to his condo, set the floor dryer on high and headed back out to the salon.

Marlena made the comment, “Our Sundays are complete again.”

I agreed with her and screamed my trademark line,  “Eat the kitty. Eat it! Eat it!” I made a V with my fingers and stuck my tongue through it.

My friends lost their minds,  and so did I.

I finally felt complete. Like I was home.

 

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The sound of him in the morning

Roger darling always gets up before me. He’s an early riser and I’m a night owl. Since it’s Saturday morning I slept in a bit. He came into the bedroom, looked at me and asked, “are you feeling okay honey, are you sore?” I said, “I’m not as sore as I thought I would be.”

Last evening I was in a car accident. I drove left of center and hit a young kid that was driving his grandfather’s car. I’m okay and so is he. I felt so bad for him though. It was my fault! We called 911 and held hands until the cops and ambulance got there. I soothed his nerves as best I could while I cried. I digress.

Back to my Roger. After we chatted for a few minutes, I took a pain pill and headed back to bed. He then asked if he could go to the casino with my mom. I told him, “of course, I’m going back to bed.” He called my mom and they devised their plans for the day.

Then he got ready. There is something so comforting about the sound of his movements in the bathroom. Hearing the rush of water as he showers. Then after he shuts it off I know he’s standing there naked and drying himself off.

He came to stand in the doorway of our bedroom to chat, then headed back to the bathroom to shave. I couldn’t see him but I could hear the squirting sound of the shaving cream in his hand. I knew then that he was applying it to his face. He turned on the faucet to run the razor under the hot water. He repeated the movements until his face was smooth. Then he tapped the razor on the side of the sink to remove the excess water.

Next he brushed his teeth. I know because he stood in our doorway, brush in hand and squirted the toothpaste on his brush. There’s something so funny about having a conversation with him while he’s brushing his teeth. With that task done, he came to my side of the bed and kissed me sweetly. Asked one more time if it was okay if he went out to play. I told him yes, of course. I’ll be fine.

Now my eyelids are heavy from pain medicine and I’m snuggled in bed with the wonder schnauzers. I have to say I will never tire of listening to the sounds of Roger getting ready. I take such comfort in knowing he’s here.