today was supposed to be the day. monday. we talked it over on friday. james confessed through tears that he had been planning it out in his head for a while. he had been watching her carefully, intently observing her every move. she hadn't been eating on her own, and having trouble on her walks, losing strength in her back legs. james didn't want to tell me, or he couldn't bear to, knowing how much grief i have suffered in the last few years. still, he couldn't keep it to himself any longer, the sorrow was eating him alive. she seemed ready, he said. she's tired, he said. she seems like she is maybe starting to suffer. i told him i wasn't so sure, it's hard to say, but monday seemed too soon, and we'd just have to take it one day at a time. i cried a lot that day, and james did too. i looked at her closely while she was sleeping, and every time she cracked her eyes open, i came over to stroke her soft snout and say hello, girl. i love you old dog.
when i met james, it was champ that sold me on the whole deal. a silky brown mexican desert dog with a bitchy reputation to everyone she didn't trust, she was mean to nearly everyone at first. too smart, and as far as i'm concerned, a pretty good judge of character. somehow i won her over quickly, we became fast friends. she so generously let me have her place in bed, in exchange for a new couch plus hand-sewn overstuffed floor pillows, just for her. i always knew that she was the first lady, and gave her due respect, and maybe that's why she liked me. on occasion, whether camping in the van or on a cold winters night, she'd snuggle in to conserve heat. the three of us would spoon, holding so perfectly still in the sandy sheets, embracing all through the night.
together, the three of us have walked miles upon miles, along beaches, sidewalks, alleys, and rivers, through forests and valleys. we've driven up and down the I-5 corridor countless times, we've moved four times to four different houses. we've seen it all together. we've hardly been separated. we're a family.
we decided to wait. phew. there are the downs, and then, thankfully, there are the ups. monday just so happened to be an up. when we see a glimmer of hope, we hold it to our hearts as a tonic, and we hold on. when we run out of ups, we run out of time. we're afraid of the inevitable, avoiding the inevitable, because it's hard to imagine a life without. james and i know the story all to well: when you lose an integral piece of your identity, you realize just how much of the framework of your life relies on your relationships with others, your rituals of friendship. and what's left when someone goes, well, it's an eerie emptiness that's hard to fill at first. and yet, the cycle of life and death barrels on, relentless like a semi truck that has lost its brakes, inarguable as the changing seasons. and love, it lives on. love lives on and on.
Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.