Yesterday, for the first time since I adopted her last January, Rouletta allowed her inner canine spirit to fully emerge. She ground out her cigarette, took a last sip of red wine, and ran over to the pile of toys she rarely plays with and dragged each one into the middle of the living room floor. She then made a nest out of her blanket and settled down for a nap. Next thing you know, she’ll be wandering around the apartment with her leash in her mouth, begging for a walk. Mind you, she still wears a raincoat when she has to go out in a tropical downpour, and she has a great little dress to wear at an upcoming “Bark Mitzvah” event at her posh doggy spa. But suddenly, she seems a little different.
Having lived the first five years of her life as a show girl before moving in with me, I often wonder, does she miss the travel, the excitement of earning a first-place ribbon, the pampering to keep her a first-place contender?
I think not.
I guess that officially makes her, well, a dog.
For the first time since I moved here, I no longer feel desperate to go out every day and every night and every second that I am not working. I have turned down invitations for a quick drink after work, for a dinner here or a girls’ night there. Don’t misunderstand, I am nursing a slight hangover even as I write this, after a fun night out at a fundraiser at which my cute bartender girlfriend and I won hockey tickets at the silent auction. And I am meeting another girlfriend tonight for dinner.
It’s just that more nights than not this week, I stayed in. I even cooked. A regular dinner. Me. And that would be a first since the soup last winter, and that was a first in three years. I guess that officially makes me comfortable in my new home.
For the first time in almost two months, I unexpectedly ran into the boy. Last night, actually, after the fundraiser. My bartender girlfriend, along with the two male friends who’d joined us, returned to the beach bar for a last drink. A couple of other regulars were there, too, and it felt incredibly comfortable and easy just to chat and sip wine. That comfort and ease didn’t evaporate even when the boy suddenly appeared and walked over to say hello. Even when he stood next to my bartender girlfriend and chatted, just a few barstools away from me. Because I was fine chatting with those next to me, and frankly, was more a part of this group on this night than he was. For the first time, these were my friends. Really mine. And as if he sensed that first and subtle degree of separation from me and the others, he left after about 20 minutes.
I cannot tell you how broadly I smiled as my friends high-fived me for “really handling THAT well!” I guess that makes me officially over it–over him. Or very close to it.
I do not kid myself that all is now perfect in my SoFla single life. It is far from that. Sadness still has a tendency to tap me on the shoulder and remind me just how imperfect it is. And I am sure I will again be thrown off balance by the someones and somethings that will inevitably blindside me.
But, something has changed–is changing. The balance between feeling horrible and feeling good has shifted ever so slightly in favor of good. I guess that officially makes me–I don’t even know. But “okay” and “not terrible” come to mind. And that is a very welcome first.