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My site is finally the first listed for “Dogpoet” on Google. You wouldn’t think that would be hard, but then you’d be surprised.

Any resemblance…

hmmm…it’s striking me, looking back at the last few entries, that the manner in which I’ve discussed Ski seems to imply a relationship that doesn’t exist. We’re friends, despite the context and weight of my words, nothing more. Yeah, I’m infatuated, yeah, it could be limerence, but it seems unfair to the truth to conjure romanticism out of a friendship. If authenticity is my aim, this should be clear. Having only begun the Campfire in December, I’ve yet to face the inevitable conflicts that can arise when some “real life” people begin to read these words (not that you aren’t real, darling) and I truly have no idea how that will affect me. Anyway, qualification seemed necessary.

Devil Children

The funny thing about working for a dog behavior department in an animal shelter is that I am surrounded by trainers who understand best how to rehabilitate problem dogs, yet have the most ill-behaved dogs in the world because they are drawn to the sad cases, adopt them, and then are too busy training other dogs to work on their own. Which means that I am left for hours at a time in an office filled with trainers’ dogs who misbehave, bark at every sound, pee on the floor, howl from separation anxiety, surf the desks and counters for food, and generally cause headaches with each passing minute.

There are good dogs, but because like mine they curl up quietly under the desk, you don’t notice them. Only the devil children. There is one next to me now making a noise through her throat that sounds like a cross between a pigeon and a velociraptor, pining away despite my comforting presence. The sad irony is that I’ve become a little callous towards dogs, spoiled by my own quiet, well-mannered companion. I’m like the crotchety school teacher who thought she loved kids but over the years has suffered their torments too poorly to continue with grace. Then again, I’m writing this from work, and I get to bring Louie everyday, I wear jeans, I have health insurance and a regular paycheck.

Ski’s father’s funeral was today and he called me a little while ago to update me. He sounds sad and tired, trapped in his mother’s house in Jersey which is like everything you might imagine; crammed full of loud, drunk relatives reminiscing, shouting, crying, and getting lost on their way to the bathroom. As we talked, someone picked up the extension and starting hitting the digits until Ski yelled, then a gruff voice says, “Ski, is that you? Get off the phone, we have an emergency.” Who knows what that could be, but when he asked me to help him cover a commitment back here, I welcomed the opportunity to do something.

The day of my mother’s service was the hardest, if only because the presence of all those people coming together to share memories made it impossible to deny that she was gone. The pictures of her up at the alter, holding her dog and cat and smiling so wide, ah it was cruel.

I’ve been so caught up in the craziness at work since I got back that I haven’t had much time to think about her. Which is not to say I feel the need to be busy, nor to wallow. I ‘d rather have some more time off, but I’ll plan that out. Authentic would be the word I’d choose; I want to remember her authentically.

I bet they all don’t know the side I got to see last night…

When I came home tonight, the door was wide open. Loud music (somebody covering Cher, covering someone else, I believe) blared from within, and every light in the place was on. A bluish cigarette haze hung in the air, cutting in half the forms of dozens and dozens of unfamiliar partygoers moshing in the living room. Michelle Kwan spun in an endless loop on the television, my dog was eating chicken wings off paper plates left all over the floor. The toilet had flooded, spilling out into the hall and soaking the Art Deco rug that had been a gift from a cherished friend. Cigarette butts littered the entire house, bottles of cheap beer balancing precariously on the edges of tables and counters, and in every bed a collection of naked and tattooed bodies writhed about, lubricated with bottles of olive oil leaving wet sticky circles on the nightstands. I stood in shock, surveying the mayhem. “Who are these people?” I wondered. Then it hit me. They’re all your friends. Well, er, welcome.

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