Race home to start dinner. Hope for the best. Pull out the carrots, squash, broccoli, red pepper, cream, cheese, pasta. Chop, chop, chop, boil, plop, stir, season, simmer. The kitchen is thick with steam.
G & J bubba go for a run. Toby cries by the door the whole time they are gone. I give him a jerky, nothing. I try to play fetch, nothing. I fill a toy with peanut butter…nothing. He sits by the door and waits and cries. Every now and then, he gets up to search the house. He finds nothing and returns to wait. I think it’s sweet.
The boys return. I’m just finishing. G takes a shower. I wash the strawberries. G gets dressed. I set the table.
The food tastes like it’s supposed to and I’m relieved. We eat slowly…letting the time pass. The dogs cuddle up on the rug, bathed in sunshine and close their eyes…content now that they are together. The sunlight fades, reflecting oranges and yellows and reds across the hardwood floor. G sits across the table & talks.
Soon, the dishes are loaded & the counters are wiped. We venture back out for a walk. A sweatshirt & a coat…both hoods on. It’s still cold. The dogs with their harness and a leash. I hold G’s hand and then shove ours into his coat pocket. We trade off holding the leash. Because his fingers are always cold. And mine never are.
We walk up & down, back & forth, past houses and buildings, and parked cars. Walk slowly down the middle of the road. Because some streets don’t have sidewalks & no one else is out tonight. The dogs lead the way…strolling side by side. The light fades and fades and fades, but lingers. Coloring the sky purple.
We end up at the park. Take the dogs off their leash. The gate clicks closed behind us and they disappear. Off in the distance they are running and pouncing and chasing. I have to squint to see them...to find them in the hazy light. We wander through the playground, across the monkey bars, down the slide. It’s getting darker now, the day slipping away. I can hear the dogs chasing and moving and growling, but I can’t see them anymore.
It’s time to go. We click the leash back on and continue…I’m not ready to leave. The last bit of sunlight evaporates into the sky and night has arrived…blue and brilliant. The city lights twinkle below us, pulsing and dancing. We stop to watch them, to relish in their beauty and I feel on top of the world.
We walk until we can no longer make out the street signs, the shapes, the colors. Until day gives way to darkness & every light flickers on. Inside their cozy houses, everyone settles in for American Idol or a movie or goodnight. We walk until we reach home again. Until the sky is black & the world is silent.
Until we are invisible. Except to each other.