Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco
I’m presently writing a sad piece about the marital dog, which has inspired plenty of moping about other dogs I’ve loved and lost. Fortunately, I will soon be reunited with my mother’s wonderful long-haired German Shepherd, who slept by my side and followed me everywhere when I was home for my grandmother’s funeral, to the point where my mother got a bit pissy. “Honestly, I don’t know why she’s doing this,” my mother snapped, when the dog cried to be let into the bathroom while I was taking a shower. “Maybe you have an incurable disease. I’m serious! They can sense that, you know.”
The dog that came before this one in my mother’s house was a bigger, shaggier, long-haired German Shepherd named Misha. He was best friends with my marital dog–they were puppies together, and we have a series of adorable pictures of them, including one where they are sitting side by side on my mother’s porch, holding (I kid you not) paws. Misha was so enormous that my ex-husband used to open his jaws and stick his head inside. He was incredibly sweet, though terrifying to look at. I desperately wanted to dress him up in a flannel nightgown and a lacy nightcap with holes cut out for his ears for Halloween, and dress my son as Little Red Riding Hood, but we were never with my mom for Halloween, more’s the pity. You never saw such big eyes, such big ears, such lovely big white teeth.
Misha died when he was eleven. About a month later my mother was visiting and my younger son, aged three, looked up at her one day out of the blue and asked, “Is Misha still dead?”
So, here I am at the end of the summer, having failed to write anything on this website in ages, for which I apologize. I’m fine, mostly. The summer went quickly, once it finally took off, and now it’s over and gone. The kids are back in school–sixth grade and twelfth grade, shockingly enough. I’m over the shingles. In the mornings, I drink coffee and read the paper on my porch, in the shadow of four enormous hanging Boston ferns, and I thank Zeus and all the gods for this excellent little house, which I’m always happy to come home to. My boyfriend and an assortment of our various children and I drove up to Maine to camp and visit friends and, eventually, my mother and stepfather, and we had a lovely time, and the weather was stunning. It was a wonderful summer, on paper at least.
And yet subtending everything is the simple fact that the dead–my grandmother, the beloved dogs, that Spanish dictator, all of them–are, astoundingly, still dead.