How'd ja know?
Something in your voice.
Today has been too much. How 'bout you?
It's all good. Just dropped Nan off and am driving home.
Well I know you're tired but it's supposed to rain for the next three days so if you could...
I know. I'll cut the grass.
Thanks, Slater. That'll help.
Pulling in the driveway later my earlier hopes dashed I decide he was too sleepy. I am too sleepy as well, too tired for even disappointment. If it wasn't for his car and the call I would not even suspect his presence. The door is locked, the house still and Billy Sue stiffly walks to me like she's been in hibernation for the winter. I do my best excited to see ya' impression and she's not fooled either but impresses upon me she does enjoy the back scratching part of our routine.
Afterwards I sit outside and stare blankly into the overgrown yard as she studies me.
Back in the house I see Slater has taken over my bed and I close the door to give him as much quiet as possible. I make one phone call and say one thing, Gone to bed, play a DVD and settle into the couch. Billy Sue places her paws on the cushion and looks at me as if to say you can't do this without me so I pull her up next to me.
She sits at my ribcage and stares at me. I close my eyes in an attempt to ignore but feel the weight of her need and open my eyes to stare back. Why are you not going to your pillow? I ask as I look down at where she usually settles at my feet. No pillow. Slater has taken it off the couch and put it on the loveseat for what reason I cannot imagine. I am too exhausted to think about it or to get up and get it so I tell her, I'm not getting your pillow in the most pitiful voice I can muster. She seems to understand and climbs over me onto the pillow immediately above my head. This'll have to do, I think and thankfully drift off.
A couple hours later the phone rings. It awakes me not to be answered but to serve as a notice I need to use the bathroom so I stumble down the hall and eventually make my way back to the couch where Billy Sue has now taken over my spot. I try to take the edge, push her with my back but she's not budging and the word bitch does come to mind but I'm too tired so I get up, amble to the loveseat and curl up in the fetal position without cover just grateful for a place to lay my head.
At 11pm I am up to write. Slater walks into the room and thanks me for his bed. No problem, I say. We walk outside, talk about this and that. Billy Sue sits next to me and watches as Slater paces until we complete the conversation and are all walking back up the steps into the house. Slater mentions I may want to change my writing music to see if it changes my writing as if I need an experiment 'cause he has a hypothesis.
You need for my writing to change? I ask.
Nah. Just see, he responds. Then he leaves me with my same old music, a lit candle and a blinking cursor.
Within ten minutes he walks back into the room and checks out the first two sentences I have been able to stamp out, smiles and says, Oh, another one of those. This won't be good.
Nice, I say. What should I write about?
Write about having to sleep on the loveseat, he instructs.
So here we are. You, me, Billy Sue and my editor home from college.
Also, one of my very favorite random internet strangers has returned stateside and promises us writings to come. Beautiful.