I was in surprisingly good shape waking up yesterday after more than 13 hours of buck’s day festivities the day before. I lay there on my couch as the morning light seeped into the room. Rigby had snuggled to me in his customary fashion. He was content to stay that way. I was aware that this was the last morning – possibly for quite a while – that Rigby and I would be together.
It took a while for the house to rouse about me, by which time I had showered, dressed, and fed the animals. I had began packing up by the time someone made an appearance. I am house-sitting till Friday. From Saturday I am homeless. That means Rigby too.
I had my bags packed and stowed away by lunchtime, but couldn’t bring myself to leave. Normally I am glad to be out of the place, but knowing this was the last time made it different. It’s good to go. There’s a lot toxic in my presence there. But then there are other considerations.
The boys were downstairs sitting at the kitchen bench when I told them I was leaving soon. I couldn’t bring myself to look at them for fear they would see the tears in my eyes. My younger nephew seemed both surprised and upset, though he knew it was coming. The elder seemed sad to.
I tousled Rigby’s head as I left, yelling up to my sister that I was going. It was bright outside. My niece was there happily decorating the house for Halloween. “Are you going?” she asked.
“Yep.” I didn’t want to linger.
I got in the car, and she got in the passenger seat beside me. “I don’t want you to go,” she said.
For weeks she has parroted her mother. When are you going? Can I help you pack? Now that it is happening she wants me to stay.
I drive away feeling bleak inside. Something awful has happened.
I should be happy to have a place to myself for a few days, a real bed to sleep in, but instead I am miserable at the thought of leaving Rigby. I’ve left him before knowing I would be back; now I don’t know that.
Unless there is some miracle I must find a home for him in the next few days. Just the thought of it horrifies me. I have someone who will look after him, someone kind and loving, but the thought of being separated from him is awful. I’ve grown so dependent upon him. He’s the only love and affection in my life.
As for him? Dogs are resilient, but he’ll keen for me. I don’t want to put him through that. It would be different if I could explain to him, but instead he’ll watch me drive away and will be left with a stranger.
It feels very different already. For a man who does solitary so well I’ve come to expect him there. There’s no-one to greet me at the door when I get back. I find myself shaping to say things familiarly to him, then stop. He’s not there keenly observing as I prepare a meal. And though the cat here does it’s best, he’s not here to give me an affectionate lick. He’s my companion, and now he’s gone.
In theory we part for a while and then come back together again. I don’t know how long that will be. It’s easier to manage like that, but I don’t know if I can do it. It may be I choose to take the hard road instead, just so we can continue on it together.