Fresh off a divorce, many would think it inadvisable to date multiples at the same time, although there are some who would say that’s just the ticket, I’m sure. I found myself in the latter camp. A blonde and a brunette, both lean and athletic, both viewing me with a healthy skepticism, not
unwarranted at the time. After some time, and lots of whittling, I found myself woven into their lives.
I am lucky. The Blonde gave in and married me. The Brunette we kept around, now sharing the bed with us as her time comes to an end, a sympathy perk for the Blonde’s first dog, the aloof liver shorthair in our trio of crop-tailed pointers.
Five years later we fear it’s coming to an end. A deteriorating body betraying a young spirit. Kisses are hard to come by, but she still greets me at the door, pushing her front paws up off the ground as much as her arthritic shoulders allow.
The Blonde and I have hushed conversations, asking each other questions whose answers we don’t want. How long can this go on? When do you think we should call it good? She hates the car, should I find a vet that does house calls? How will we know?
It won’t be easy. A first for both of us, our first go around with this type of thing. Her first dog, and while I didn’t come along until she was, by many standards, an old lady, she’s my first dog too. The others family pets, my relationships with them unearned. It was quite the victory in defeat when the Brunette started choosing my side of the couch when given the choice between the Blonde and I.
I wasn’t into bird dogs then, in practice at least. I knew I wanted one eventually, but hadn’t taken the plunge.
Knowing what I do now, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble, and started my obsession with a fire breathing, run for days shorthair. If I’d been able to insert birds where tennis balls currently take up space in her brain I’d have spent the last 13 years burning all the boot leather and gasoline I could afford.
Instead, we pay the landlord for pills, renting more sand in her hourglass. She seems upbeat, but you can tell she isn’t completely comfortable when she’s awake. The limping has gone away and stairs are still manageable. The meds wear off in the early morning hours. We’re snapped awake to her fitful cries as she stumbles to get comfortable. It is unnerving. I feel helpless.
I’ve made some bad decisions in my life, terrible really, but have very little regret. I learned a great deal from those experiences and am very grateful for where they led me. But I regret my lack of time with Sydney. My ‘What if?’ girl. The answer I want to a question I can’t ask.