Worked the morning in the florist and a couple of hours at the tailor before dinner. I feel really restless; the dogs seem to have picked up on it as well and keep bugging me to do something, anything. When I ask Ed what he wants, he gives me his famous GSD end-of-the-world groan and walks to the door, then sits. Bea, well, she follows Ed’s lead but her groan comes out like a warbling whine.
The weather has been pretty good, like that’s anything different. Maybe that’s where this unease is coming from. No, that’s not it. Belle did tell me something was coming. I thought that meant Bea showing up out of the blue, but apparently she was simply a distraction from the main event.
Well, if I sit here I won’t find anything.
Even my books aren’t satisfying this particular itch. I open one, read a few lines, slam it shut, and put it back on its assigned pile. We need more bookcases; there are too many piles on the floor. Bea has found out that she can knock them over and choose a tasty book for herself. Reminder: I need a new copy of “Catch-22.” She ate it in one sitting.
Having two of creation’s best dogs as companions is great, but there’s something missing, and I think it’s Harry. He could be a real pain in the butt emotionally, but the good times were spectacular. Belle tells me that he’s somewhere here in one of the Resurrectorium areas but also that he might not be able to get to 1920. She’s not telling me something.
Not odd, her holding something back. Lately I feel like she knows far more than she is willing to say. No, that’s not quite it. She obviously has information I need but is so distant toward me now that she doesn’t care. I’m really not completely sure.
There’s no way I’ll get anything straightened out sitting here at my desk, Ed curled up at my feet and Bea making a nest on my bed out of my blanket. Gotta move. Maybe the clogs in my head will loosen up outside. Will write more later.
— ### —
We left the apartment house and headed toward the park where Bea found Ed. She doesn’t amble around as much as she did at first, so the walk was a lot more pleasant. I got hungry pretty quickly, and of course both dogs have no problem in eating snacks frequently, so we skirted the park and headed toward the central part of town, where the café and restaurants are.
Great thing about this existence: since you can’t get sick or injured, letting dogs wander in and out of eating establishments isn’t that big a deal. Nonetheless, I made them sit-stay in front of the café while I went in to get us a trio of burgers.
Wish I hadn’t stopped, at least, not there.
The old guy was there again, as always happy to see me. I asked for a cheeseburger for myself and a pair of plain burgers for the dogs (no cheese, no condiments, just a burger with cheese on a plain bun). Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of a man’s head, just the right shape that slender Harry shape I’d been seeing in my dreams. The man had his back to me and was sitting in a booth with a woman, not yet 30 years old looking. She was laughing at what he was saying, although I wasn’t close enough to hear individual words, it seemed he was having a good time, too.
“Here you go, sweetheart. Three burgers, one for you and one for Ed and Bea.”
“Thanks!” Taking the bag with the burgers, I turned to leave. Something stopped me, something made time congeal. Through the stiffness of the air, I turned back.
The man in the booth froze when he heard the old guy name my dogs, and jumped out of the booth when he heard my voice.
The slender Harry shape was Harry himself. He stood there like a scarecrow, one hand up as if he were going to wave, the other loose at his side. Harry looked at me like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, which gave me a pretty good guess about where he’d been and what he’d been doing.
The woman slid out of the booth and touched him lightly on the arm.
“Harry, who is this? Someone you knew before?” The only word that came to mind when I heard her voice was “vacuous.”
“Um, yeah, ah yeah, this is, I mean was, my wife, Sarah.”
I smiled at him, my ironic sarcastic smile that used to bug the hell out of him, waved at him like a railroad wig-wag, and walked with wooden legs out of the door and into the street.
He followed me, I could hear him assuring her that he’d be back shortly, could hear her rather nasal whine. Or perhaps I assumed she’d have a nasal whine, I don’t know. I kept moving.
Bea and Ed fell into step, thank God. They ambled along with me, eyes locked on the greasy bag loosely dangling from one hand. I would have left them there, my dog buddies, the fog in my head making me forget everything except that the man I’d spent years with, the man who’d fathered my dead child, the man I trusted, that man who was following me pleading and whimpering.
We kept walking, my dogs and I, fast then faster. Harry’s footsteps stopped and his voice faded, but not entirely. It kept sounding in my ears, his voice telling someone else that I was his wife. Past tense. Nothing in the present.
We wandered around the park until the light dimmed. I’d dropped the bag at some point; Ed and Bea ate the burgers, paper and all, then ambled over to where I came to rest, sitting on a bench under a light pole.
God was playing a joke, He had to be. I felt sick, and we weren’t supposed to get sick, or so I thought. Nauseated, light-headed, leaden limbed…I felt awful. I stared out into the dimness, unable to see anything or to turn my gaze anywhere else. My mind was floating around a whirlpool I couldn’t see clearly.
I have no idea how long we sat there, but finally I shook my head clear enough to become aware of my surroundings. Ed was sound asleep, snoring; Bea was busy chewing on a stick she’d found, laying on her side with the stick propped between her paws, her butt pressed lightly against Ed’s sleeping back. The center of their universe sat in neutral gear, and they waited patiently for us to move forward again.
Up I got and forward we moved, back to my refuge from the now sour world. All I wanted to do was sleep, to get away from the painful sludge my life had become suddenly.