The alarm snaps on at precisely 6:10 a.m. The snooze button allows a few precious moments to come into the state of being half awake and half asleep; to stretch out to touch finger tips and entwine fingers and to curl in to loveness, knowing that these precious moments can’t last because little dog has heard stirrings of wakefulness and against all verbal commands to stay! little dog will leap onto the bed to worm her way in between two heartbeats. The day is launched.
Grind coffee beans. Make espresso. Sit together, sip slowly. Morning conversation. Notice the sensations of quiet, ferocious love that arises.
Time to get into the rest of the morning.
Tuck a ton of pills into a small slab of liverwurst (shuddering as it goops up fingers) and give to the big, dying poodle. Hear the sounds and smell the smells and stay in the moment of what is: don’t imagine life without him while he’s still here, still wags his tail, wants to go for car rides, wants to see all of his friends and wants cuddles and can stand up to go for short walks and has his spirit and his heart.
Check the weather. Get dressed. Do these pants make my bum look big? No, seriously, do they?
Time to take the dogs outside. Whisper words of love in poodle’s ear as he struggles a wee bit to stand up. Guide poodle down the front steps and let him walk for as long as he can. Back at home, give the dogs their morning meal.
Time to share a kiss, a smile, wishes for a good day and say goodbye. Wrap her in an invisible cloak of quiet, ferocious love.
Have a shower. Make calls. Check mail. Wash dishes. There’s more: classes to get to. Books to read. Food to cook. People to talk to. Writing to do. And other writing that wants to get done, that hangs in the air, wondering when it will be called to life, or wondering if it’s time to find another outlet.
Take poodle out. Heavy duty diuretics. Banking to do. Library books to get and some to return. Relatives to visit, meeting their new loves. Are we all really getting that old? New babies. Serious operations. Wills and funeral plans. Wedding season. Where to get a sari?
Friends and movies and dinners and plays and dance performances and TV shows and walks.
Working life in transition: what to do next? Teeny tiny bits of networking. Ugh. It’s who you know, even these days. Notice the tension and relax into breath. Do a yoga pose. Lift some weights. Get the bike ready for summer. Meditation practice. It helps.
Visits to the vets’ offices. Palliative care for the poodle. Prime directives of no pain, no suffering, no extraordinary measures and a good quality of life. The vets accept. Flirt with the cute vet for a teeny bit to hear more of her English accent and ignore all teasing about said flirting.
Let’s not forget immediate family, mostly sisters and one amazing — and gay — brother. Sisters can be scary, specially when there are a hundred of them. Remember the dates of parents’ passing. Feel the mixed feelings.
Paint the first floor hallway and the baseboard up the stairs because friends from Europe are coming to stay for a few days and it all could use a little freshening up. One of the hundred sisters offers to helps and ends up painting everywhere she wasn’t supposed to paint, like the banister railings. Notice upset tummy. Breathe.
Later that evening, after helpful sister leaves, spill white paint on the stairs. Wait, not the stairs exactly but on the oatmeal-coloured wool carpeting that covers the stairs. Second silly spill of the day, but no matter: there are no tears of frustration in spur-of-the moment house painting, just one short, terse obscenity that attaches itself to the outbreath and is clearly heard in the other room which manages to tweak her curiosity and prompt a peek at what’s happened. Tender words and an offer of help. Lots of warm, soapy water and voila! No more spilled paint on the carpet.
Get out the calendars. Spring and summer birthdays. Christmas in July party. Who’s going this year? What to wear? Weekend brunches. Meet new partners of old friends. No trips planned because of poodle.
Discussions and decisions about Pride Week. Dyke March? Pride Parade? Dances? Events? Can we escape the straight tourists and the naked guys in cowboy boots? Do we go as a political act to celebrate our own mainstreaming? Do we go to acknowledge the activism that has given Canadians LGBTs the full range of legal rights that straight people have? Do we go to Pride Week events and the parades to honour our history in spite of its commercialism? Do we do something during Pride Week to acknowledge that across the world, it’s a very different and sometimes dangerous reality for LGBT people?
Bills to pay. Veranda to clean. Car things. Laundry to do. Floors to wash. Dust to eradicate. Weeding.
Pay taxes. Vote. Try to not hit cyclists who can’t decide if they want to follow the rules of the road. Shop conscientiously, except when it comes to books and cafes. Be home at 3 p.m. to give poodle his afternoon pills.
Eveningtime. A smile to look forward to seeing. Dinner together. Tidy up and do the dishes. Share stories of the day. Play with words. Laugh. Or have dinner with friends and play with words differently. Laugh some more.
Slow, slow dog walks. Talk with neighbours. Head across the city for gelato. Go to the boardwalk. Walk across the sand. Listen to the waves. Ponder life. Meander back to the boardwalk, stroll under the trees. Worry about swooping bats. Look with wonder at the sky and the rising moon and where sky and water meet and feel it all.
Nighttime pills for poodle. One last walk.
Cotton sheets. Listen to her breathing: inbreath, outbreath. Flow. Notice the wash of feelings. Wish goodness for her. Wish goodness for this changing world.
Sleep comes and brings dreams. Flow. Colours. No barriers, just mindstreams, slipstreams, and multiple streams of multiple consciousnesses of an everyday, regular woman who’s just living her everyday regular life, including her everyday lesbian life.