I pull the car up to the curb in front of our home, and get out. Walking up the sidewalk, I know she’s watching me. As I reach the porch, I can see her through the window… her mouth is moving, but I can't hear her yet. I open the door and step inside to her greeting.
“He-llooooooo,” I say back, half chuckling. It’s impossible not to be amused by her.
“How are YOU?” she probes.
“Oh-KAY!” I reply, because I am now.
She chews on her ankle a little. She’s excited. She has so much energy she hardly knows what to do with herself.
“It’s been a long day, sweetie,” I tell her. “I’ll be right back.”
I set my keys and bag down on the front entry table, and go back to my room to change clothes.
“HEY!!” she yells from the other room.
I say nothing. I can appreciate that at least it’s a word, which is better than screaming, but I don’t want to encourage the decibel level. I wait. A few seconds pass. I’m in the bathroom now.
“Hi!” she calls, sweetly this time. I grin.
“Hi!” I answer.
“Hi there!” she exclaims. I repeat.
“Hey there!” she sings. I respond in kind. This goes on for a few more choruses, echoing each other back and forth, until I return to the front room where she’s waiting.
The phone rings.
“Hello?” she asks. I snicker.
“It’s not for YOU,” I tell her. I look at the caller ID. Not for me, either. I let it go.
“Luv luv?” I query.
She puts her head down. I skritch the top of it. I pull her favorite treat in the world from my pocket. Her eyes widen. She takes it from me gently, and devours it politely, mumbling something with her mouth full that resembles two syllables.
“You’re welcome,” I acknowledge.
She puts her foot in the air.
“Step up?” she begs. She hasn’t seen anyone all day.
I give her my hand, and she takes it, closing her eyes and laying her head on my shoulder as I stroke the back of her neck.
“I love you,” she whispers, her face buried somewhere in my chest.
“I love you too, Crimson,” I assure her, kissing the top of her head.
“Okay,” she sighs. She kisses my cheek, and I put her back on her perch.
There’s something truly remarkable about coming home to a pet who says hello and inquires about your day when you arrive.
Pets are amazing. I’ve had cats all my life. There have been times in my life that they kept me sane. Those were times I lived alone, and if I hadn’t had their love to sustain me, to quietly purr in my lap when I needed tenderness, I don’t know what I would have done.
But now I live in an insane household. Besides me, there are two cats, two dogs (who comprise more than 200 pounds between them, and tear through the house like King Kong and Godzilla destroying Tokyo), two humans, and, oh, of course, the bird.
And, oh, my, wow, that bird...
I often ask my housemate, “How did we ever entertain ourselves before we got her?”
When he passes through downtown from his parking space to his office (where they regularly spend their days together) walking with her on his shoulder, she is frequently met with stunned passersby, giving themselves rubberneck whiplash from the sudden double-take as they spin around in awe.
Invariably, they all seem to say the same thing. She has learned this is the appropriate response to meeting unknown parties on the street, so, she’s come to preemptively issue the standard greeting as a newcomer approaches her in this fashion. Leaning out from his shoulder, she looks directly at the stranger as only a bird can, with a pinpoint stare that bores right through them, and loudly declares,
“Hi, Bird!” which is usually met with riotous laughter.
The first sound she learned in our house, after the dog’s name, was my laugh. She can imitate it perfectly. I can never laugh without having her repeat it, which, ironically enough, generally makes me laugh more.
She has two laughs... mine, and her own.
When she breaks out MY laugh, it’s either because she’s parroting me, or because she’s grown accustomed to what gets me going, and jumps in before I can get started. She's very astute that way.
Then, there are the quiet conversations she has with herself. She acts out both sides of at least a 2-person dialogue, muttering in one tone and murmuring in another - nonsensical gibberish that only she understands. The best part is when she cracks herself up. HER laugh sounds like Ernie from Sesame Street
What’s most eye-opening to me is the way her regular mockery of my amusement has called my attention to HOW MUCH I laugh. I don’t think I had any idea before I met her how often I really let loose.
I don’t live a sheltered life... not by any stretch of the imagination. And I haven’t had a cloistered past, not by anyone’s standards. Don’t ask me to compare notes on personal tragedies... it’s not a competition that benefits anyone involved.
What matters is not that I’ve experienced struggles, or that I face challenges on a daily basis. I’m no different than anyone else in this respect. What matters is that I greet these struggles and challenges with levity and a keen (if not slightly twisted) sense of humor, defying them to darken my path.
I live with an eccentric, unruly, irreverent, capricious, idiosyncratic adult human male. He’s a magician, a clown, a juggler, a fire-spinner, a roller-skater, a contra dancer, a heavy metal enthusiast, a rock-climber, a geocacher, a robotics warrior, a martial artist, an American Ninja, a yoga devotee, a business owner, an uber geek, a systems guru, a code Jedi, a web wizard, a modern cowboy, an evil genius, a mad scientist, a visionary, a dreamer, a doer, a devoted father, a doting daddy, an attentive companion, an animal activist, generally goofy, occasionally a bit odd, and sometimes, just a little hard for the rest of the world to get. But he's my best friend in the world.
There’ve been times when friends and family have wondered what draws me to him.
I think about Jessica Rabbit’s answer to the question of why she stayed with Roger.
Why? Because he makes me laugh.
This is my family. This is my life. It may not be perfect, it's certainly a bit chaotic, if not at times maniacal, and lord knows it sure isn't simple... but it makes me smile, and that makes everything easier. No, life isn't easy... but it's fun, and I love it. And that’s good enough to get us by.
LJ Idol | Season 6 • Week 3 - Topic: SMILE
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