Monthly Archives: January 2014

On Remembering

I was pleasantly surprised in December when I received an invitation from Sigma Tau Delta, the National English honor society, to present a piece I wrote at their annual convention in Savannah, Georgia.  I knew when the piece was accepted for publication that it was a possibility I would be asked to present it, but in my head I just thought, it’s me.  No one really wants me to read.  There was a moment of shock when I got the invitation.  Then I noticed the dates.  And I sent an email back declining the invitation without a second thought.  You see, the night of the creative nonfiction readings is the day that would have been my son’s birthday.  To me, in December, it didn’t seem right.  It seemed like, in saying that I was going to go to Georgia, I was saying that he didn’t matter.  Because if I’m not here to remember him on his birthday, who will?  I knew that people were disappointed when they found out I had declined such an opportunity, but I didn’t tell them why other than that the date was a conflict.

The day, February 26th, has always been important to me, the three times so far it has come about since he died.  The first year, A and I went to the lake first.  The place where the memorial would be once the weather got warmer.  We checked out the tree, and we released a balloon out over the water.  I watched it, shooting a video, until I couldn’t see it anymore.  After that, we went to the mall and did lots of shopping.  I bought him a Winnie the Pooh bear.  Even then, I knew it was silly.  But it felt right to me, because I had so little of him to remember, that I buy him one last thing.  The bear sits on top of the box that contains what little I do have. 

The second year, A and I also went to the lake.  We got flowers, we hung out.  We went to see a movie.  Every year, the day has come and been a giant stop sign.  A giant, flashing “You.  Must.  Remember.”  It isn’t like I don’t remember every day.  I do.  But that day is different.  That day is about what might have been if he were one.  Two.  Three.  And this year, four.  

Last week, I received a second invitation to the convention.  I took it as a sign, and I immediately accepted it.  It felt like maybe he was up there somewhere, telling me that it was okay to move on and do good things.  As I prepare requests for funding and decide on what pieces I will read and shop for a red and black dress to wear to the gala at the close of the convention, I don’t really feel guilty.  I have this awesome opportunity to shine a little light on my name, to draw some attention to the memoir I’ve been working on for the last year, and to bring some good attention to my university.  It is his day, but this year it’s mine.  It doesn’t bother me like I thought it would. 

Strangely, I feel guilty for that.  I feel guilty for not feeling guilty, which I guess means that I feel guilty.  

Last year on his birthday, A and I went down to the lake where the memorial is.  The entire memorial was covered in ice, and we hadn’t brought any type of gear with which to clear it.  We both chipped at the ice with our shoes in the general area of the memorial where we thought his brick might be.  It was hard to tell with everything being frozen.  I dug with my gloved hands to try and claw some of the snow and ice away, with little success.  I didn’t see the brick that day, and we had had a fairly light winter.  This winter has been ridiculous.  Polar vortexes and snow storms and ice abound.  Chances are, I won’t be able to see the brick this year either.  So it shouldn’t matter if I’m here or there.  I can be anywhere and remember. 

This year on February 26th, I will be in Georgia.  Where it is warmer than here; where there isn’t any ice.  Where no one will know that I had a son once.  I’m incredibly happy and excited to have the opportunity to promote my writing and mix with others from the English field.  But part of me remembers this other life I had once.  The one that I can’t get back.  The one with a son that it sometimes feels like no one remembers.

After much deliberation, I will read this piece, because it was what they accepted for publication:

https://girlinterrupted28.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/an-exposition-of-death/

And I will read this piece, because it’s his birthday.  Because I will always remember him:

https://girlinterrupted28.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/refrigeration/

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The Divide (Rough Draft)

When we were preparing to divorce, the husband went through the apartment that I was no longer living in and took pictures of every single major item that we owned.  He then put them into an itemized spreadsheet that included their original purchase amounts and their current estimated value, as well as a column for who wanted the item.  The idea was that we could pass it back and forth and negotiate digitally.  Neither of us wanted to see the other.  I, in particular, did not want to see him.

I had a hard time draining our life together down to mere things.  The things that I chose to keep line one wall of a storage room.  I don’t even own a bed anymore.  For me, at the time, it was easier to roll over and let him have whatever he wanted than to risk dragging the process out.  Risk making him angry.  Risk going back.  I wanted to be as far away from him as possible.

However, on page 21 of the spreadsheet were the final two items—our son’s ashes and his memory box.  I didn’t know what to do about them.  When I left, I left quickly.  I hadn’t thought to take them.  When I did go back to the apartment to get the things I needed, they were already gone.   I wanted them, desperately.  I wanted to keep the ashes.  He wanted to scatter them.  I viewed scattering as throwing him out into the world.  As forgetting him.

I asked my then-therapist what she thought, and it was then she told me:  he was seeing someone in the same agency.  The same building.  The office.  Right.  Across.  The hall.  I felt betrayed somehow, like he had followed me on purpose.  “We could have a meeting with the four of us.  Discuss who gets the ashes, and the box and its contents.  Talk about who can have what.”  I must have made a face, because she continued, “I know that it sounds weird.  But if you can’t agree on it, the court will decide how the divide will work.  And that may not play out in your favor.  There are no guarantees as to the mood of the judge.”

I pictured that story in the Bible where the child gets cut in half because the two woman cannot agree who is really its mother.  I knew that I wouldn’t be brave enough to speak up in court.  I knew that I wouldn’t fight if it went that far.  I also knew that it was the one thing on the spreadsheet that he WOULD fight for.  I worried what he would do.

I agreed to the meeting.

I didn’t really want to go to the meeting when the day came, two weeks later.  I hadn’t seen him since the day I had left, and I had no desire to see him.  I wore long sleeves, intentionally.  There were some things that he didn’t need to know.

When A dropped me off at the office precisely at two, his car was already there.  When I went inside though, he was nowhere to be seen.  My therapist and I talked for a few minutes before there was a knock at the door.  The husband came in and sat on the opposite side of the couch I was on, and placed a pile of stuff in between us.  A pile that amounted to our son’s life.  I refused to look at him, even when he finally spoke to me.  I refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing my fear—fear of him, fear of losing our son.  Fear of myself.

We went through the box item by item, which wasn’t much.  Footprints, handprints, a lock of hair.  Outfits that he had been dressed in for pictures.  The pictures themselves.  Hospital bracelets.  A few things that I had asked for from the storage we had purchased for the baby things: a quilt that was handmade by my grandmother, an outfit handmade by my mother, and a Winnie the Pooh blanket that I had asked for.  It wasn’t the right blanket, but I didn’t want to see him again so I said nothing.  The only items I took were the ones he offered me.  I didn’t not speak up.  I stayed silent.  And then the ashes came out.

I focused on my shoes.  They were black and pink, a sort of plaid pattern.  I wanted those ashes, more than anything.  I was divided on the inside between my loyalty to the son I would never hold again and my fear.  I willed the words to come out of my mouth.  I tried to force myself to fight.  But instead, I said nothing.  I left the office with hardly anything except tears.  A lot of tears.

I don’t regret my decision to get out of the marriage.  But I do regret that I didn’t fight more for my son, that I let go of him (what feels like) much too easily.  I purchased a memorial brick, at a tree that was planted to remember dead children.  A solid reminder, it served as something that I could touch.  It was supposed to be a memorial just for me, but someone told the husband.  I couldn’t decide how I felt about that, about having to look over my shoulder every time I went to visit it.  I didn’t want to share, but it felt like the right thing to do.

The husband (then ex) emailed me much later to inform me that he had scattered the ashes.  Without asking me.  He didn’t tell me where, just that he had done it.  That our son was gone.

I broke inside.  It felt like I’d never had a chance to say goodbye.

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Defining Moments

I’m sitting on the couch tonight watching old SVU’s on-demand, and I saw a commercial for the Olympics that are coming up.  The last Winter Olympics were in 2010.  I know that, because I was in the hospital during them.  Because I watched curling for many, many hours in a row.  Because I used to love the Olympics (Still do, I suppose).  Plus, it’s that time of year.  You know.

So here’s how it was.  That moment when he died.  I remember every piece of it. We all have that moment in our lives that makes us who we are; defines our very essence. This is mine.  Despite things that had happened before and have happened since, I still feel that Carter’s death was a catalyst to several different things within my life.

I was a merchandising manager for a local company, working about fifty hours a week.  I carried an extremely good benefits plan and had been employed with the company for about five months when we found out I was pregnant.  Everything went well with the company at first, and they sent me the appropriate leave paperwork in October 2009.  My due date was March 30th, 2010.  In February of 2010, when I turned in the paperwork for my leave, I was informed that my FMLA could not officially begin until two days before my due date, because that would be my year anniversary.  (They didn’t tell me this in October.).  I would not be allowed to leave earlier, and if I did, I would only be able to take my one week of paid vacation, one week of sick leave, and four week of unpaid personal leave that I would have coming to me.  If I did not return after that, I would have no job.  At this same time, I was placed on a work restriction that stated I had to spend half of shift standing up and half of it sitting down.  The company called me a liability, and a week later forced me into taking my leave early because there “was no reasonable way to accommodate my medical needs”.  The date that was my final day working would put my return date if I wanted to keep the job to be just a few days after my due date–so when I finished work that day, I was uncertain that I would be able to return.  I had an appointment that day with my OB, and I figured that he and could discuss it then.   

I went to my doctors appointment, but I was almost an hour early.  Instead of going in, I went to the grocery store downstairs to get something to eat before I registered with the front desk.  I selected a fruit juice smoothie; I was pissed off at the time that there was no apple juice.  The baby liked apple juice.  I bumped a display of travel mugs, I believe with my giant purse.  Several of them fell on the floor, making a ridiculous clatter.  One of the employees told me not to worry about cleaning it up.  She asked me when I was due, and I told her.  Then I went to my appointment.  I was warm, so I left my coat in the car even though it was the end of February.

I hung out in the waiting room for about twenty minutes playing around on my phone, and then they took me back early. The nurse hooked me up to this machine and then put all of these different sensors around my belly before she turned it on…and couldn’t pick up anything. I shrugged it off. The nurse three days prior hadn’t even known how to properly load the paper in the machine, and this nurse apparently didn’t know how to turn it on. So I sat and waited, still somewhat patiently. The first nurse came back with a second nurse. She messed around with the sensors some and then they both left the room. The second nurse came back in without the original nurse and said they were going to get one of the on call doctors to come in and do an ultrasound because they were having trouble with the machine. I started to feel weird then. I didn’t like the looks on their faces. I asked for my doctor, but it was his day off. No point in calling him in, I was told, for something routine. But it didn’t feel routine at ALL.  

One thing that I can’t remember is when I started to cry. It just happened. I’m not a crier. The nurse must have been told that she had to stay in the room with me until the on call doctor came, because there was a wait for the ultrasound machine and they didn’t know know how long it would be. She plopped a box of Kleenex into my lap and started asking me questions….what did I do for a living….what did my husband do….had I ever left the country? We started talking about the mission trip I took to Jamaica my senior year of high school. At some point the doctor came in. The nurse stood between me and the ultrasound screen so I couldn’t see. I was crying so hard I doubt I would have seen anything anyway. I jumped every time I heard sound come from the machine, but she kept telling me it was the uterine artery, not a heartbeat. They looked for about twenty minutes. And then it came… 

“I think you should call your husband.” 

I knew then. I think I already knew, but I KNEW then.

My doctor arrived about five minutes later. I thought offhandedly that it must no longer be routine. He pulled up a chair in front of me, sat on it backwards, and said those two words that I wish I would never hear again. 

“I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.”

That was it. That was the moment when my entire life changed. My child, who I had never held, never seen, except on a little screen, was gone. 

And that’s how it was.  The rest has already been written.  This moment, these couple hours of my life, set me up for the rest of…well…everything.

I’m bracing myself, February.  For the first time in these (nearly) four years, I think I’m ready for you.  And that doesn’t mean I’m forgetting.  It just simply means that this has happened, and that I am learning to be okay.

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Poverty in Academia, Thy Name is Grad School

I read an excellent post this morning about being poor and surviving within academia.  Here’s a link to it:

http://tenureshewrote.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/succeeding-in-graduate-school-despite-poverty/ 

It’s funny, really.  I don’t think much about the fact that I’m poor except when I come across things like this.  This is probably because there are many people who are much more poor than I am.  But the truth is, I’m incredibly low income.  If I weren’t living in the place where I’m currently living, I probably would not be able to afford academia at all.  I’m clever about my life.  I purchase a meal plan, even though I’m a commuter, because it’s cheaper to eat the half off (and occasionally disgusting) food on campus than to buy food.  I get most of my clothes used.  I charge a LOT on credit cards.  I pretend I have more money than I actually do.  I pay all my bills, on time, and when I do, there’s no money left each month.  But I’m still here.

 

I survive on a small teacher’s salary combined with what I get from teaching private music lessons.  Let me tell you, that’s not a lot.  I undercharge for lessons because I’m too nice to raise my fee to something more in line with industry standards.  And soon I won’t be teaching, because money is tight within the company and there’s no room for me anymore.  It’s hard for me to admit that I can’t do something because I don’t really have enough money (that’s often, lately).  I feel like I’m fake a lot of the time; I don’t really fit because I’m different.  Because I came from somewhere different, I live in a world that doesn’t really feel like mine.  No one ever explained how college financially worked to me, really.  When I was graduating high school, I didn’t understand financial aid or grants or scholarships.  I didn’t know that there was money available to me from outside sources.  All I knew was that I had no money.  As a result, I skipped college.  I lived another life.  And now I’m back, and about to graduate and go to grad school.

 

I’ve struggled lately as to why the idea of grad school is terrifying to me, and I think this is a piece of that.  Apart from the emotions of leaving a life I have completely rebuilt and grown comfortable in, there is also the issue of my income to consider.  In just a few short months, there’s a good chance I will have to relocate for grad school (assuming I get in).  In so many ways, I’m not ready.  I can barely afford to live now, and I will have to pay to move to pay to live to pay to get a degree that will get me…something.  What precisely I’m not sure.  I want to write.  I could teach.  There’s quite a few possibilities, but none of them involve making money.  I will be low income forever.  There’s no miracle job at the end of my degree that will bring me millions, but I will love what I’m doing.  Is that okay?  Is that enough?

 

I own not much of my own after the dissolution of my marriage.  A book case and a dresser.  A television and a DVD player.  Miscellaneous books.  A few dishes.  I gave up pretty much all of my things in the divorce just to be out.  If I could do it over again, I would have used the information I had and fought him harder.  Kept more things.  Sold them now to pay for relocation.  But I didn’t.  I let him take pretty much everything.  Through the grace of friends, I somehow manage to function.  But what happens when I’m in a completely new place?  I can’t sleep on my shiny blue plates.  What if I get in and I can’t find somewhere to live that I can afford?  What if there’s, plain and simple, just no money to make this happen?  In that I wonder whether applying at all was a mistake.  What if I can’t afford to go?  No one is going to support me financially but me, and I don’t want a repeat of my high school graduation.  I don’t want a second break from academia.  I’m almost thirty.  There’s just not enough time.  

 

Poverty is a cycle.  To break out is difficult.  To improve one’s quality of living is very difficult.  I’m getting a degree, and now I will be paying it off.  I will be paying for years once graduate school is done.  Money will not exist for me.  In trying to better myself the only way I knew how, in trying to get a degree, I am, in effect, keeping myself in poverty.  When you come from poverty, you are poor because it’s what you know.  It takes a miracle to get out.  I will be paying to advance myself and then paying for paying for that advancement.  Money will go out but won’t come in.  Society doesn’t make it easy to break free from that.  

 

If I were still married, I would have some medium of money.  (Were I even here.)  But I’m not, and that’s a good thing.  So can I be happy, safe, and have money?  That remains to be seen.  

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Tandem

It’s morning, and the light streams in through the window-well.  There’s a cat on top of me, her purr filling the whole room.  I know that I have places to be, but I just want to read a book.  So I do.

 

My son, Carter, is almost four.  The sun isn’t even up yet when he wakes me up, excited about the day.  Breakfast.  Cartoons.  Toys.  I want to read a book, but I can’t.  I don’t have time.  He’s more important.  He’s already running around the apartment.  I won’t have time for myself today, that’s apparent.  And that’s okay.

 

Some days are easier than others.  Today is one of those.  I have some pieces that are out for publication; I’m making plans for my last semester of college and my possible graduate school career.  I took a journey this morning to get an energy drink and cookies for breakfast.  Someone asked me “How are you doing?  How are you feeling about things?” and I didn’t have an easy answer.  Because I don’t know.  I never do.  I wish that I could touch him, just one more time.  Hold him.  But I can’t.

 

I drink coffee now, because it helps me to stay awake.  I like to watch Carter play.  His favorite toy is this little keyboard that plays all sorts of different sounds.  He likes anything musical, really; this is probably because I buy him way more musical toys than anything else.  I hope he’ll be a musician someday, but I’m not sure what he’ll be.  It’s too early to tell really, and he likes so many different things.  I’m planning his fourth birthday party.  I have to ask the husband who I should invite; he has friends I know he will want to come.  I don’t have many friends.  I spend my days at home.  Sometimes I wish I’d gone to school.  Not that I don’t love my son, because I do.  But I wish I could be better for him.  

 

I have the experience of being a mother with no child to show for it.  It’s such a weird place to be in.  And I no longer have a husband.  I’m not tied to anyone.  It’s still odd to not have to ask when I want to do something.  To be able to go out, do what I want, buy what I want.  I order some books off of Amazon and go about my daily business.  The question, “Well, what do you have of him?” rings in my ears.  I don’t have much.  I gave it all up for the sake of getting divorced, getting free.  But there’s one thing.  I pull down the back of my shirt and look at my tattoo in the mirror.  It’s his handprints, and his name.  And the date.  I call it his birthday.  It’s funny really; his birthday was the day after he died.  At least that’s how I consider it.  I used to cry when I looked at the tattoo.  I don’t anymore.  I suppose that means I’m becoming okay.  I wonder in the back of my head if that’s okay.  If it’s okay to be okay.

 

The husband wakes up several hours after us.  The sun is high in the sky.  He scolds me for not making him breakfast, but I didn’t know when he’d be up.  He expects a lot of me, but I do the things that I need to do to make him happy.  Or at least I try.  It seems like he’s never happy though, no matter what I do.  I find myself apologizing frequently.  There are many times where I’m scrambling to figure out what the right thing is to do.  Sometimes I think there is no right thing with him.  He tells me often that he could take Carter away.  I can’t let that happen.  I have to be my best. 

 

When I lay the possibilities of my life out side by side, where I am now versus where I could be, the only thing that is missing is him.  My son.  I often imagine what my life would be like if I had an almost four year old.  I wouldn’t be independent.  I wouldn’t be in school.  I wouldn’t be bettering myself.  I have a hard time sometimes reconciling the difference in these two possibilities, that I had to give him up, so to speak, in order to be where I am now.  Especially this time of year.  It still hurts to be asked if I have any children, to not have an answer.  I wish he was here, but I’m happy with where my life is now.  And the next is step is to be okay with being okay.

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An Irreversible Process (Final draft)

I’m a firm believer that the human brain can only handle so much at a time before it shuts down.  When someone you love dies, you spend a lot of time answering questions.  After a while, you get sick of them and start picking random things just so people will leave you alone.  The woman in the funeral home was the last straw for me after my son’s death.  It wasn’t that she was rude; she was quite the opposite.  There was just too much she needed to know, like there was too much I needed to know.  

When someone dies, many things are unknown.

Her name was Cori.  She was waiting for us when we walked into the lobby.  My mother in law shook her hand, and Cori seemed to somewhat know the situation from a conversation they had had beyond my awareness.  The four of us walked into a tiny room off of the lobby and she began asking questions.  

My son’s entire life fit on a single form; it was the form she would use to draft the obituary.  I stared out the window as she spoke, at a bird fluttering about in the bush.  I wondered what would happen if he suddenly tried to fly inside, if he ran into the window and fell to the ground.  And died.  

Where do we go when we die?

Did I want our son to be cremated?  

No, cremation is forever; cremation happens by fire.  I didn’t want my son to burn.  Someone was pushing a clipboard towards me.  I looked down.  It was an acknowledgement that cremation was permanent.  I hadn’t agreed to that, I never said…

Cremation is a permanent state of being; an irreversible process.

The husband signed the form, so I did as well.  I had no choice.

Irreversible.  As in never coming back.

Cori gave me an enormous binder.  Flip through it, she told me.  See if there was anything I might want to put him in.  Like he was a deceased pet I would bury in the backyard.  The photographs were nice, but I couldn’t tell just by looking at them.  I pushed back from the table and wandered into the showroom.  There were coffins everywhere, but in a smaller room at the back of the showroom there was a room filled with different kinds of urns.  Cori drifted in, explaining the differences between the urns.  The large ones were obviously for adult remains.  But the smaller a person was at the time of their death, the less mass they took up.  Obviously, babies are quite small, she said.  There were urns made for babies, but she plucked something else from the shelf and held it out to me. 

I didn’t see the difference.  The urns for babies were small.  This urn was small.  But this one was special, she said.  It was for cases where siblings or other family may want to divide up the remains of their dead so that they could each take a piece home.  It was morbid, the idea that people would want to split up their dead.  But obviously it happened. 

How did I choose where my son would spend forever?  What makes one urn better than another?  I spotted one that I thought I might like, if it was possible to like such a thing.  It was a tiny bronze one with a red satin case shaped like a heart.  The urn rested in a small niche inside, and the heart could be closed around it.  Like a jewelry box.

If it was on a shelf, you would never know there was a dead person inside it.  You wouldn’t know it contained all that was left of my son.

We went back out to the room and filled out the order forms for the urn and its accompanying red heart case.  A second woman appeared with the first draft of the obituary.  The husband passed the typewritten page to me.  I was the writer, he said, so I should look at it.  I gave the paper a once over and passed it back.  I didn’t really see it at all.  I watched as everyone else in the room finalized the details without my input.  Watching as they finalized his death—a permanent, irreversible process.

He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, though I suppose everybody says that about their child.  He was mine.  He was gone.  He was dead.

Irreversible.

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Where I Am Now

It is fourteen degrees below zero today, not counting the wind chill.  Twenty four below if you are in the wind.  I am glad I am not in the wind.  Today reminds me of another day, what feels like a literal lifetime ago.

I was expecting babies, more than one.  I couldn’t live in my house anymore, they said, because there wasn’t room for all of us.  But that didn’t make sense to me.  I didn’t understand how I could be part of the family one second and outside alone the next.  I had always been so good.  I did everything they asked of me, every single time.  But there I was.  Outside.

And it was cold.

I looked for my family for a while.  I thought that if I could find them, I could convince them that I was still worth loving.  But the salt on the road burned my feet and the snow gave me frostbite in my toes.  I grew tired, and I felt a lot older than my years.  It grew harder and harder to look for them.  I realized that I would never see my family again, so I tried to find a new place to call my own.  I tried to talk to people that I met as I wandered, but none of them could understand me.  Some of them seemed afraid of me.  So I did what seemed natural; I disappeared.

I had my babies.  They were hard to keep track of; the three of them were rambunctious and crazy, and they all looked just like me.  But I kept things together the best I could.  I went out into the snow to forage for food, the cold seeping into my feet.  As the weather grew warmer, and the babies grew older, I let them come with me.  I taught them how to run and play, but I also taught them the ways of the world.  I taught them everything that I felt they needed to know.  Rain or shine, we were out doing what we had to to survive.  A pack.  Our own sort of family.  Until the day the truck came.

I saw it from down the road.  I told my babies to run, run as fast as they could.  There was man there with a big stick; he wanted us to get in the back of the truck.  His voice was loud, cutting through my warnings to get away.  I ran, with the babies right behind me.  When they started to fall behind, I tried to distract the man so that he wouldn’t take them away.  I lunged at him, and when he grabbed me I sank my teeth into his arm.  As I slipped away, I called to the babies.  I was down the block before I realized they were no longer with me.  I ran back to where I had last seen them but they, along with the truck, were gone.  I had lost yet another family.

My life didn’t seem worth living anymore.  I walked with my head down, avoiding people and civilization.  I didn’t try to find food.  I spent my nights huddled behind garages and inside sheds.  As the weather grew warmer, I wandered down to where there was a giant place to swim.  I thought about how I had planned to bring the babies here, to show them how to swim and teach them to love the water as much as I did.  I sat sadly, staring out over the water and watching the seagulls circling overhead.

When the man with the stick came, I didn’t even see him until it was too late.  He took me to a place that was filled with others like me, a place where I sat for over two months.  The place was filled with sadness.  I got food and water every day, but there was no one to love me and no one that I wanted to love.  I didn’t want to play.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I knew that there would never be anyone for me.

I remember the day they came, a year ago now. The day they now call “gotcha day.”  All of the others were making so much noise, but I sat and patiently waited.  They barked, but I didn’t.  I didn’t have a lot of hope; many people had come to visit but I still didn’t have a home.  Barking wouldn’t do me any good.  I waited in my place in the corner, and I watched as they looked at everyone in my section but me.  I didn’t move a muscle until the girls came, and put their fingers through the bars.  It was then that I wagged my tail.  Then that I just knew they were there for me.  I cocked my head to one side and put my ears up in a way that, while I couldn’t quite remember, I was pretty sure they would think was cute.

I got to go home that day.  I learned again about things called blankets and beds and toys.  I got to play with balls and play tug of war with rope.  Best of all, I got love.  Snuggles and love are my very favorite thing.

It is fourteen degrees below zero today, but I am not afraid; I am not cold.  I am sitting on the couch with my people, wrapped up in my favorite blanket that looks like that TARDIS machine that makes so much noise on the magical picture box.

I am finally in my forever home.  And I am happy.

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