Usually, I step slowly into the day, lingering in my bed, listening while the morning guy on the radio tries to be funny while reading the news. I see nothing to be gained by leaping out of bed and startling the day. It may be no more ready for me than I am for it.
Yesterday was different. I had someplace to be very early in the day, so I rolled out quickly and left the house before my wife had a chance to twitch; this was no business for her anyway.
The dogs go to work with me every day. They knew it wasn't the usual time to leave and they hadn't had their coffee yet, but they piled into the truck with me. They know their job and would follow me into the gates of Hades.
I motored off into the rising sun, reminding myself again that I need to wash that darn windshield. No time to enjoy this morning as I worked my way upstream against the morning commute, to the next town where a friend needed me.
My friend lived with a dog that was poetry in motion for a decade and a half, a dog that ran like the wind with her blonde hair flying and nothing but joy reflected in her eyes. For this dog, time had passed and taken its toll. Her body was irrevocably damaged, frail and weak, and she could no longer carry the weight of that thing growing in her belly. Her eyes said she was tired.
I needed to go to my friend's house early this morning to do what I do to end this pain. I administered my injection, a quick almost mechanical task, so the suffering could finish and the grieving begin. For even grieving must begin before it too, can end.
Then I joined the tide of cars slowing flowing west; I was late for my morning appointments at the clinic, but nothing would speed up that parade. When I finally arrived the kitten problem was waiting for me there.
The kitten was about seven weeks old, colored like a Boston Terrier in black and white, and, of course, terminally cute. And my wife wanted her.
Number two son had just graduated from college and moved far away to begin his adult life. However, because of this something important was ending for my wife. The nest was emptying and she felt a kitten would be the cure.
I opposed adding another member to the menagerie at home, but I relented, reluctantly. At the end of the day, Cassie was in the truck with the dogs and me as we followed the sun back home.
I had my reservations. I figured another cat would just add to the chaos at home, more work, more conflict between the animals, and more problems to solve. Then I watched that silly kitten and my silly wife play and giggle and pounce and hide and seek for the next four hours. I watched Cassie snuggle under my wife's chin and start to plug that big hole in her heart. And, of course, the little con artist fell asleep in my lap, purring.
OK, I was wrong.
Our house is a little brighter, now. Cassie brings more joy to my wife than any diamond I might go into hock to buy for her. The dogs already like the little tyke and the other cats will get over it, eventually. We experienced a resurrection of sorts in our little home, with a new soul to love, a beginning. For a day that had started with sadness, such happiness didn't feel bad at all.