Today I talked to my Nana, with whom my dog Eppy went to live when I moved countries. It was supposed to be temporary, but the world turned and life did its thing, and it became a permanent situation. We did a video chat on Skype as we sometimes do, and I could see Eppy at her feet where she used to sit at mine. And my heart twisted.
It’s selfish of me to feel sad when I see that she is happy and healthy and loved where she is, I suppose. She was one of the few creatures in the world with whom I could be selfish… the few with whom I could Be, period, and there was no expectation of Do, no laundry list of all the ways I’d failed them. I have shared and do share my life with wonderful people, but in human relationships, there is so much of ourselves that get in the way of being ourselves. Dogs always know who they are, and who you are, and to them, that is enough.
When I made the decision, ultimately, not to import her, it tore me in half, but all I could think was that for ten years, she gave me, unflinchingly, what I could never find in even my closest human relationships, and it seemed like a selfishness I could not risk to put her through a commute that might well be the end of her, only the chance to have her back. The price might be her life, and it was too high. She saved mine, and I wouldn’t play the lottery with hers. She’s with someone she’s known her whole life who loves her. I feel… alone, in a way I had forgotten I could feel.
I don’t want to go back. I’m free here in ways I wasn’t there. But I still struggle with a lot of the same demons (like anxiety and depression) and now nobody has kisses for my tears, no steadying paw against my leg, no presence on the end of the bed. Everything is always changing too fast for me to keep up. My parents might not live in the house I grew up in much longer, the place where we lived through my little sister’s birth, life, and death. It is possible I will never see it again. The life I knew isn’t there anymore. There’s no going back, only forward. So I face the future, only to find that it doesn’t look like anything at all, not yet. I haven’t created it yet. I keep looking down just to avoid the formless emptiness my steps relentlessly drive me toward.
I think it’s time to be selfish again. I’m ready. I’m so ready for there to be eyes to look into while I’m keeping my gaze trained at my feet. It’s hard to keep taking those steps forward… but I can’t go back, and I’m sure as hell not stopping here.
All of which is to say, I’m in the market for a dog now. Going to hope for that foster fail, and I’ve got my eye on other rescues too.