life, as i see it, is comprised of three categories: things we dread, things we are ambivalent about, and things we look forward to. the latter, i've found, is extremely important to preserve one's sanity, optimism and will to live. james told me that as a little kid, if he didn't have anything to look forward to, he'd throw a ferocious tantrum: "THERE'S NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!!" he'd wail. as an adult, i find that i'm nearly as bad, moping around with the desolation blues when all i can see on the horizon is work, work, and more work. this project is helping, though. suddenly, i'm excited to see what i'll pull out of my heiny; or rather, what my new painting will look like.
our dog champ is the same way. she'd 16, which is probably 100 in dog years. she's tired, she's wobbly on her feet, she stumbles, but like a real trooper, she still goes for her two walks around town every day. religiously, she quickens her pace around that second bend, up the alley to see paul. paul, sitting in his chair, smoking a cigarette and doing a crossword, always equipped with little colored bone cookies for champ. they became fast friends. and whenever champ disappeared from our watch, out the backyard through an open gate, we would know exactly where to find her, waiting patiently.
today we found out paul might not make it. he's been in the v.a. hospital for three weeks after yet another surgery. he's tired, and he said no more. he has no family and few friends. but in his weakened state, from his hospital bed, he asked how champ the dog was doing. and so, as it turns out, he looked forward to their daily ritual too.