Tuesday, September 9, 2014

in memory: my sweetest friend.



this was our last photo.

today is a few days from what would be kaiser's 15th birthday. i thought of him this morning as i wrote to a friend who was asking for help with her pit bull. kaiser was half pit bull. all perfect. he was the worst puppy who grew to become better than chocolate. he grew into my soul. all those years i spent alone, trying to figure out where i wanted to be, what i wanted to do, and who i wanted to love, i wasn't really alone. my sweetest brown boy was always there.

kaiser left me on may 7, 2012. he was 12. my first and only human child—my boy who was all creases and rolls and perfectly puffed lips—was four months old. i lost one great love as i was just getting to know another. this was the season of my life. in the year before, i had left behind career, friendships, and a time zone. the earth opened up and sucked me into the hollows. what else to do but feel my way back out. the light comes and goes along the way. my kaiser, he was a bright spot ready to fade. i guess it was as good a time as any.


i didn't know it was coming, unless you count the moment in the vet's office when the phrase mass in his lungs and my heart collided. the vet said i could take him home for the weekend and bring him back monday. no. unlike my past—twisted up with goodbyes stretched far too long—i did this one right. i let go when it was best for both of us.

the grass was so green outside the vet's office, which was tucked away in an alley. it was just me and my kaiser out there in the rectangular patch of yard about a week overdue for mowing. as i was trying to take a picture, i accidentally hit the video button on my phone. i still have that video. only visible is the grass, and only audible is kaiser's labored breathing. i've listened to it a few times. not many. 

kaiser wasn't the most manageable dog. he didn't obey commands very well, if at all. he took forever to find the perfect spot to poop, which was often with his brown butt propped up against a fence or a bush or a tree. he would run away at the mere hint of opportunity, and i'd have to chase him until he was done playing hide and seek. he whined at my bed and my desk chair until i did whatever particular thing it was that he needed, which could only be determined upon me doing a bunch of things in hopes one was right.

as i evolved from college girl to curious woman, kaiser went along for the ride. back roads were our way. we hit some dead ends, found some great friends, and made memories a million.

this morning as i was remembering kaiser, as i was missing him terribly, i thought about the lessons. they're always there, of course. vivid in hindsight. i spent a lot of time by myself in the years kaiser was with me. i lived alone; i was mostly single; i moved far away from west virginia and my family. powerful years that reconfigured the shape of my world. the relationship we had, unlike the love between humans, needed no language to communicate its depth. in all its silence, that relationship opened my heart, which often becomes occluded by direct communication with other humans.

the love of a dog allows you to behold togetherness in a unique way. from kaiser i learned that perfect circumstances and perfect behavior don't define love. maybe love is about being there at a time when you can love each other in the most perfectly imperfect way possible. it might last for a very long time; it might not. 

purpose: sometimes i turn up my nose at the significance we assign that word. yet when i think of kaiser, i know he fulfilled an incredible purpose in my life. the sorrow of loss is of course unwelcome, but i take comfort in knowing our timing was just right.

thank you for all you never knew you did. i will love you always, my sweetest friend.



Friday, September 5, 2014

the e-bully that wasn't.

last night i read romance advice on the internet. what a loser. 

i'd had a particularly trying day with my two-year-old. fresh from his nap—and by "fresh" i mean volatile like kilauea—he walked in as i was reassembling his high chair. the result of asking him to sit down every two seconds during meals, this "solution" came at a cost: one, i don't have three hands or an engineering degree; two, he found this highly insulting because "i'm NOT a baby!" 

let the explosion commence. 

during my hour of exasperation, i found myself mentally transported to a ranch-style home in a cul-de-sac, where i was relieved from duty to get a deep-tissue massage while my dutiful partner donned his shield to fight the dragon raging in the sweetly decorated bedroom with handmade items carefully culled from the depths of pinterest. 


it is often these momentsalong with holidays, instances of things that are too high to reach or things that are too heavy to carry
, and saturday nights when i'm all dressed up with no one to sex up—that i indulge the thought that marriage might not be hell.

so i went to bed wondering why the hell i can't get this partner thing right. the internet was full of answers. 

one website indicated that my man is all wrong if he is too angry and all wrong if he is too passive. noted. anybody know anyone in a coma who's single?

an article on oprah.com told me i'll need to marry the wrong one first. hey. you should've told me this when i was 21, or at least two years ago before i entered yet another age demographic. 

a blogger told me i should both model myself after a woman i admire and bear in mind that a man doesn't want to be embarrassed by his woman's physical appearance. hmm. i hope this mashup of maya angelou and sofia vergara works better than i think. 

in the midst of my surfing, i received an email from AT&T stating that i'd used over 90 percent of the data in my freelance-writer economy plan and that if i dared to continue researching my destiny, they'd simply have to add $20 to my next bill. thank you, conglomerate with a heart, for saving me from myself. 

i put down the phone and watched an episode of "diners, drive ins, and dives." i haven't had red meat for 20 years, but that gastropub BLT looked like a dream. hey, maybe there's a positive correlation between lack of animal fats and failure of commitment. if guy fieri head-butted me, would his hair make me bleed? 

the clock pulled me elsewhere. better get the kid into my bed so we both can sleep through the night. after especially trying days, or even regular days, the evening ritual of bath time, story time, and bed time can feel heavy. it can have a way of painting a jackson pollock of single life and parenthood: overwhelming to the senses. frustrating. nonsensical. you look and look and look to find out what it's worth

last night, i carried my 33-pound baby turkey from his bed to mine, with his warm, soft arms hanging limply over my small, defined shoulders; sweaty head nestled into the curve of my neck. for a moment i felt very alone, because the internet had told me i had it all wrong

this morning i awoke to my better judgment. back to believing mass-produced advice can be a massive pile of crap. i often feel utterly hoodwinked by love, but the internet doesn't hold the answers. my world is mine to behold. some days i do think it's ugly. other days, i step back and think it's pretty cool. zoom in, zoom out.


currently reaching for a hammer and nails so i can hang this masterpiece in my living room.