When I got home from work, my puppy Porter was in the window wagging his big fluffy tail. Dane was sitting on the couch, watching a documentary on the History Channel. I changed my clothes and we went to Zen West Roadside Cantina to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with sangria.
He had fish tacos for dinner and I had a quesadilla. We talked about little things of no importance and recalled the loud, old Jewish couple sitting in front of us at the Mary Poppins production we saw the night before. He was good at imitating them and it made me laugh so hard. I remember where we were sitting in the restaurant and the little kid running in circles who repeatedly played the same, really annoying song on the jukebox while his mom and dad completely ignored him. I don’t recollect what song it was now, but it was spinning in my tipsy head as I tried to fall asleep later that night.
Back at my house, we drank wine and watched a show that was saved on the DVR. Porter chased his tail and we laughed. Dane suggested that he was just like that kid at the restaurant, really, except fluffy. He adored Porter. He was mad when I first rescued him because he didn’t want a dog, but as you can see, he fell in love with him pretty quickly:
When it was time for bed, Dane cuddled with me for a bit before heading to his room. He said he was happy things were going well with us (we had fought in the months prior) and we made plans to see each other when I was back home from house sitting on May 9th.
The next morning, he came in early and kissed my forehead before he left. I glanced at him through squinting, sleepy eyes as the sun poured through the sneaky cracks in the blinds, directly on my pillow.
That was the last time I saw him.
We emailed a bit that week and he called on the 8th to say he wasn’t feeling well. He had heartburn. I told him to get some TUMS.
“Thanks, good idea,” he replied, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
That was the last time we spoke.
I’ll never forget a single moment.
The memories we had together and his passing are a constant reminder of the beauty and fragility of breath and life. One year ago, this propelled me out of my routine stillness. It was like an awakening from the numbness of the patient etherized upon a table in T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
Grateful and inspired, the months that followed sparked the first time I truly began to live.