First Night

I was right.

My bed felt so huge and empty. Half-asleep, I wondered why I didn’t feel that spot of heat in the middle of my back. Then I’d wake up and remember. My puppy girl isn’t here anymore.

I stayed with her until she died. I promised her that. I kept my hand on her, massaging her neck. There came a point where I knew she couldn’t feel me anymore, but I couldn’t let go. And then she was gone.

These past two weeks have been from hell. The job–trying to get this new column put to bed. It was a profile/interview with someone, and what makes it hard is that you’re on deadline and they’re not. Last minute edits, “stop the presses!” stuff like that. The following week, trying to get your work done and you know something weird is going down. Then, on a day you have off, you develop a persistent, nagging cough that’s really annoying but you don’t pay it any attention ’cause you got work to do, places to go and people to see. And the next day…the shit totally hits the fan. Vertigo–can barely stand up straight. Head feels like it’s about to separate from your neck. Your five senses are totally whack. And that annoying cough? Your body is wracked with it. You ever cough so hard you throw up? Muscles clenching until your midsection feels as if someone has used it for a punching bag. Your neck, too. I threw my back out. Throat hurting from all that hacking. Lying down hurts. It’s not so bad sitting up in your desk chair, but all you want to do is lie down. So you grit your teeth and go to bed. You’re starting to drift when you go into a fit of coughing, and it feels like your innards are about to fly out of your mouth. Lather, rinse, and repeat. The pisser is these are your last few days with your puppy girl, and you’re too damned sick to appreciate it. Then the final morning comes and you’re not ready, but you can’t put it off. You feed her fresh-cooked bacon, which she’s never had before. Did she know something was up? On the way to the vet’s she takes a massive dump in the truck because she knows where we’re going, and she’s scared. And then it’s over.

I still have to clean up the truck. And I’m still sick.

There’s lots more shit hitting the fan but I’m too tired and demoralized the deal with it right now. At this moment, I mean. I’ll have to deal with some of it today. I just hope it’s not too late.

Yet there’s one bright spot. Almost always is, isn’t it? One of my betas sent The Moreva of Astoreth back with her comments. GREAT comments! She’s a developmental editor so this wasn’t a full-blown edit, but she pointed out several things that could have been done better, instances that need more explanation so a reader could better understand what’s going on, and more. Basically, TMOA is a good book, but it has the potential to be a great one. She also wrote that she believes in me. Not in a sisterly, comrades-in-arms kind of way, but that she truly believes I can do this. I know I can, but it’s gratifying to know someone else thinks so, too.

Think I’ll go lie down for a while. Pray I don’t throw up my spleen.


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