The world spins -- a devoted and darling friend falls limp without warning in the heart of the evening, and you try, you massage, you cry 'no,' you pound, you breathe into her pale mouth, is it seconds? Minutes? Days? There's no change. Some boundary has been passed, from which there is no return.
We sit on linoleum, children in scattered rooms having listened wide-eyed, and cradle her in a towel, a random shirt, cell-phones and emergency directories lie about, useless now, useless then. From the outside, pale light spills across the midnight field, toward the empty road on one side, and toward the dozing livestock on the other: the horses, the rabbits, the goats.
Eight other dogs fill this house, pythons, guinea pigs, rats, a gecko, a half-blind cat. The house is full of life and full of striving. Death itself is not the thing, or even *a* thing. What staggers me is not the cul-de-sac itself, but having to roll to a stop, lost, and regain all my bearings.
It's not the lack of meaning, either, although we could feel, in our bones, when we stepped out for fresh air and comfort and looked up at the patchy clouds in front of the moon, the desperate urgency our forebears also must have felt, to know there is an afterlife. I know I wanted, for several seconds, more than I've ever wanted anything, to know she was still running across a sunlit field, somewhere, somewhen.
Ah hell. Maybe she is.
I don't know what else, right now. I wanted to record something.
She's perfect. 'Butterscotch-cheeks,' I sometimes called her. And 'dork.' And this morning, transferring her in a swaddled basket to the vet who will tell us what they can find out physically, I called her 'sweetie.' All her plans for us, and all our plans for her, are tangled in those blankets, and scattered with the bones and toys, like a skein of yarn she'd gotten at.
Zelda. Dance Klass.
It's not that we can't figure out a tangle of yarn. It's just one thread, you grab it anywhere.