First and Last Sleep

After all 27 boxes, 2 lamps, and 1 schnauzer are packed into the Rogue, I drive over to what will be my new home. Freddie Mercury is singing “The Show Must Go On” in the background.

As I’ve said before, thank goodness for friends. My friend in NYC very generously decided to let me stay at her empty apartment until the apartment I will be renting opens up. My friend’s dad’s employee, a man in his fifties, is waiting in the lobby with the keys.

The last time I had been in the apartment, my friend had been remodeling it, and now it really shows. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a three-bedroom, with a balcony, all overlooking a huge park. She has excellent taste, and the furniture is all woods chic with Persian rug je ne sais quoi. I can’t believe there is so much space.

And neither can Lucas. He is flying at faster than light speed all over the apartment. He is the schnauzer neutrino.

[In the guesthouse, we were staying in the smallest and cheapest room available, which was 150 square feet. Lucas and I were sardines in a can.]

“He doesn’t pee, now does he?” The man asks.

“No, he’s house trained.”

He exhales. “Ok, so Lisa said she’s sorry there’s no cable and no Internet.” He looks at me mournfully.

“I don’t care. I don’t need any of those things.” He stares at me.

“What do you do for fun then?”

I realize I don’t know how to answer this question, without sounding boring. But I’ve realized that life is thankfully, not high school nor college. You don’t have to “be cool” or pretend to be someone (or something) you’re not for the sake of other people’s opinions. Not everyone who meets you will like you, nor will you like everyone you meet. So why continue the pointless circus?

“I read.” I respond.

“That’s awful.” He lets out a polite scoff. “Don’t you like to go out to the beach, travel, see a movie, play a sport?”

“I prefer going places in my head.”

“Uh-huh. Well, here are the keys, and have a good night.”

“Thank you! Thank you!”

The man exits.

Lucas then goes over to the door that leads to the balcony and ejaculates a small bark. I know he wants to go outside and investigate the balcony so I open the door. He shoots out and smells everything: the patio chairs, the patio table, the potted plants. Then he stands and looks down at the park. He is enchanted with the fact that the balcony’s rail is all in glass, and that he can actually see everything, without having to stand on two legs. A dog god has finally heard his prayers on the architectural structures of balconies.

His stubby tail moves back and forth slowly. It’s been months since Lucas has wagged his tail.

I could not be more happy for him.

All I can think of is sleep now. When I see the bed in the guest bedroom, I dive into it, but without the grace of Greg Louganis. It is 5:30 p.m., and a Friday. I fall asleep quickly and dream of Bill Nye asking me to marry him. Instead of a wedding ring, he presents me with a graduated cylinder full of rose water.

Later on, Lucas wanders in and wants to go to bed too. I pick him up and place him next to me. He makes three circles and lets himself fall on the bed and against my leg. In two minutes, he’s snoring. In five minutes, he’s dreaming, his popcorn-smelling paws moving slightly along with his dreamscape.

I could not be more happy.