...I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker/ and in short, I was afraid...
I went. It was fine. Pugsley helped.
Okay, I'm going to Muzzy's now. Do you want to come with me?
"Do you want me to come with you?"
It would be nice to have your company.
"Okay, let me get my wallet. We can have snowballs afterward."
With Muzzy, or without her?
He is a good human. We arrive and he plops on her sofa. I fiddle with food for her, cut in half the half a turkey sandwich on a plate inside a bread bag in her fridge, cut a few chunks off the mostly-dead pear on the plate in the cheese drawer with two paring knives and a grapefruit knife, put some grapes on it. Give it to her while I heat chicken-lentils and rice with green beans. She eats the sandwich and pears, a few of the grapes. I bring the warm food. She takes the pills I give her, complaining that she's likely to rattle. She pats the dog and tells him what a good dog he is, even though he ignores her when she tells him to sit. She keeps getting up to check on the other dog, see what that noise is, hunt in the fridge.
Whatchoo want, Mama?
"Some protein. I've got nothing but carbs there."
She pulls something, brings it to the table.
You have protein. There's lentils and chicken with that rice. There's fried chicken in the fridge if you want it, though.
"What is this, pizza?"
Looks like your daughter's lasagna to me. Do you want me to heat it for you?
"No, it's fine."
She has a few bites of it, cold, then puts it, the few green beans she doesn't want and the plate of grapes in the fridge, uncovered, on top of the egg carton. I show her the plastic boxes of pancakes and sliced bananas I've made up for her. I didn't say anything about the last batch I did for her, but I spotted their plastic dishes in the sink, so I know she found and ate them.
Is it okay if I close this back door? The bugs are getting in again. I ordered a screen curtain for you, like we talked about- it should be here any day.
"Okay, but the dogs want a walk, even though they've had four walks today, the greedy things."
I'll go with you.
I unclip the two leashes from the giant palm-sized D ring that's attached to them, hand the pink one to her. I clip the young dog to his leash. She fusses with the D ring.
Could we leave that home this time? You don't need it.
"Why do I need to leave it?"
You hit me with it yesterday.
"No I didn't! Did I?"
Yeah, so if it's okay with you, I'd rather it stayed home.
Yes, you hit me on purpose.
I don't show her the bruises.
Is it okay with you if I move these bags of dog poop off of the porch, maybe near the garage? It'll decrease the flies on your porch and in your house.
"Why am I keeping dog poop on the porch? That's stupid."
I shrug and move the planter that has newspaper bag filled with poo. I'll deal with them tomorrow.
Our walk goes without incident, though she wants to argue with me that several walks up to the corner and back at her toddler's pace are enough exercise for her year-and-a-half old 75-pound dog.
Well, if you're too tired to want to go all the way around the block, you can go back home with Winnie, and Panda and I will get a bit more exercise.
"No, I think I can manage a whole block."
Of course she can. When she began getting easily fatigued, needing to stop and rest, moving at half speed, I don't quite recall. I think maybe three years? It's hard to pinpoint. When we arrive home, I give her a deck of cards, lay out a Solitaire hand with a second one. She shuffles the cards once and sets them aside. She looks towards the sofa a little longingly, but Pugsley is snoozing on it. I think that sofa is covered in sleeping powder. Anyone who sits on it goes to sleep fairly quickly. I ask if she wants to get ready to go out with her friend Dottie.
"Well, no. The corpuscles just aren't feeling up to it. I'd better not."
You ought to phone her, then, before you go having any naps.
"You're right. I should do that."
She does not move.
Would you like me to bring the phone to you?
"Yes, thank you. That would be nice."
She makes a call while I lose at Solitaire, leaves a message.
"Want me to vacate the sofa so you can have your nap, Muzzy?" comes Pugsley's voice from the other room when she presses the disconnect button.
"No, that's why I have two sofas!" she says, making her way into the living room.
"Okay, then we'll leave you to nap in peace," he says.
"You don't need to. I can nap no matter who's here."
Good to know, but we should go now.
We give her kisses and exit, but after we've closed her back door against the bugs, we notice it open again.
"How did that damn dog get out?" Pugsley wonders.
Did we not close the door firmly?
"No, we did... look, Muzzy isn't napping, she's sitting on the porch."
Well, whatever. I don't even know anymore. Thank you for coming with me.
"Sure. What flavor snowball do you think would go nicely with marshmallow? You said I owed it to myself to at least try it."
And we discuss. With these few words, he sidetracks me from despair.
T. S. Eliot; The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock