Patterns of Presence

Tuesday – December 13

It’s been a few days at home trying to regulate the medication and my body’s reaction to it. It’s Tuesday and I feel better than yesterday having dropped the loopy drug from the line-up but I’m still dragging. I’m anticipating tomorrow I’ll be a bit more mobile.

As I relax in the upstairs sitting room, I have a view of the backyard to my right and the stairway down to my left. The anticipation of the next person up the stairs becomes a simple joy on these down days.  Today, Norah and Will and Sarah appeared and brightened my day.

At other times I can hear Sue putzing around the kitchen or sewing room. She’s been on a roll making Christmas treats for friends and preparing for next week’s ladies luncheon she is hosting for the neighborhood.  She was planning a dinner with friends tonight but we had to cancel due to my condition.

Otherwise around here it’s me and Murph. Murphy, our cairn terrier, is about nine years old which makes him younger than what I feel like in dog years. Mature dogs have an interesting demeanor. Who was it that observed “Did you ever come in to a room and wonder what you came in for?… Dogs live their whole lives that way.”?

But dogs love routine and Murphy is no exception. I’m familiar with his nighttime ritual. Each evening he’ll race us up the stairs and stand by the biscuit jar until one of us gives him his evening snack. Then he’ll sit and stare unflinchingly at Sue – not moving a muscle – and will her to get up out of her chair and get the second biscuit. I’ve seen him freeze a stare for ten minutes solid. She always gives in and he takes the second treat and heads under the bed where he spends the night.

During the day he has another predictable pattern. When I am up and Sue is downstairs, he lies at the top of the stairs. He can see down and listen for activity and yet keep an eye on me in case I get near the biscuit jar. He wants to be between the two of us. However, if Sue comes upstairs to check on me, Murph will move down eight steps and lie there awaiting her return.

He’s not a dog who sidles. A treat is good for about twenty seconds of companionship then he’s off to lie aloof. But regardless, Murphy is good company even at a distance.

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