I opened my eyes and glanced around the room. A dull grey light sifted in through the window, and a dread settled in over me. This wasn’t the kind of light I had been hoping for. No. This was the kind of light that arrived on the wings of dark puffy clouds. Not to worry though, it might still be early. The idea, one of comfort, did little of that.
My eyes shifted over to the red glowing numbers on the clock. 8:32. No. This was not a good sign at all. As if that was not enough, the light patter of rain began to tap out a tune against the windowpane.
“Nooooooooooooo!” I howled from the pit of my stomach. It was much louder than I had intended, and in that moment my troubles had multiplied.
Daddy bolted upright in his bed, his blood shot eyes darting around the room.
“What is it? What’s wrong,” the words tumbled from his lips in an almost incoherent way.
My mouth dropped open and I tried to bury my head under the covers. I have gone and done it now. Waking Daddy up early on a Saturday, that is not a good thing to do, yet that is what I have gone and done.
“Cindee,” he said, looking over at me, his face still showing signs of being shell shocked.
“I’m sorry,” I whined, wishing I could find a place to hide.
It wasn’t Daddy who was angry. It was me. Mommy and Daddy get up before the sun almost every day, and today was their day to sleep in a little and I ruined it. I felt like such a jerk.
“What’s wrong,” Mommy said, her eyes still closed.
Daddy and I looked at each other and smiled. We both knew it was a reflex and that she would be fast asleep before we could say anything. She was.
“Come here sweetie,” Daddy’s voice coaxed me out from under the covers to curl up next to him.
He reached up with his hand and scratched me on my cheeks in that special way that I like. Our eyes met and I wanted so much to plant a super duper sloppy slurpy kiss on his face, and I was about to do it. Before I had the chance, Daddy scrunched up his forehead and craned his head to look out the window.
“It’s raining,” he said stating the obvious.
“Is that the problem?”
The question amazed me. This is a man who has the capacity to get lost in an empty room. Miraculously, he understood what I wanted. On the first try yet! I would have to write this down in my diary later.
“What’s wrong,” Mommy groaned again, having finally reached consciousness.
“It’s raining, and Cindee had a date with Lucas to play at the park today,” Daddy reminded her.
“Oh, that’s all? We will find some other fun thing to do instead,” she answered like the boss that she is.
Her words immediately put me at ease. It wasn’t all about play though. Lucas had said he needed to talk to me about something important. Maybe he is going to propose to me.
“Excellent!” I barked with a ton of pent-up enthusiasm.
“Now can we get some sleep,” Mommy asked, rolling over in bed and burrowing under the covers.
“How rude,” she didn’t even wait for an answer I started to complain.
“Cindee,” she grumbled.
The door swung open and a large muscular golden retriever stood on the other side. His eyes met mine, and to my wonder they managed to sparkle despite the leaden sky and shy sun.
“Hi Cindee,” he said his voice low yet welcoming.
“Hi Lucas, come in,” I said, stepping to the side and allowing him to pass.
Lucas and I had been dating for six months now, and still, I get the tingles all over every time I see him.
“Hi Lucas, how are you today,” Mommy asked with a smile and a gentle kiss on his nose.
“Fantastic,” he barked out.
“Let’s go to the dining room,” I said in the sweetest voice I could muster.
Lucas nodded and walked along side of me. I did my best to look straight ahead. A couple of times I would look from the corner of my eye. Once I caught him glancing over and smiling when he thought I wasn’t looking.
“Cindee,” he stopped to look directly into my eyes.
I felt my heart begin to melt.
“I have something I need to say,” he said, his head dropped to stare at the ground.
I felt a swarm of butterflies take flight inside of my tummy and my cheeks began to burn with an unquenchable heat.
“What is it,” I asked, wanting to know, and wanting to remain blissfully ignorant at the same time.
“Remember I went on that trip with my family to New York last week,” he asked.
I nodded, remembering how this past week had felt like a month, that was how slowly the days passed without him.
“I was taking the police dog test again, and well, I passed. We are moving to New York,” he said, his body language a mix of pride and sadness all melted together.
I felt my stomach drop out from under me.
“I don’t want to lose you. Lot’s of couples make long distance relationships work. We can too,” his voice said enthusiastically, but his posture wasn’t quite as sure.
I was quiet for a moment, letting everything sink in. This was terrible news, but he still wanted to be a couple, this was good, I reasoned with myself.
“You are right,” I said breaking the silence.
“My Mommy and Daddy had a long-distance relationship for a couple of years, and everything worked out for them,” I said, thinking about all the stories my humans had told me over the years.
“We can do this,” he said, leaning forward to nuzzle against my cheek.
“We can,” I said, believing my own words.
“Cindee, Lucas, in here,” Mommy called, shattering the moment.
“What’s going on,” the golden retriever asked the cats, who sat in a row on the carpet in front of the big glass doors.
The large sheets of white paper on the floor had piqued his curiosity, which he found intriguing. You see, Lucas is not all that inquisitive by nature, yet, here he was, stupefied by what he was seeing.
“Dunno,” a ginger cat, not any old cat, but the largest of the felines in the room, answered in a deep Cuban accent.
“What about those,” Yehudi, a small tuxedo cat inquired, her paw pointing at a couple of empty dishpans.
“Who knows,” a chubby grey and white cat who answers to Bella replied with a shrug.
“Watch this,” Mommy said, her voice bubbling over with excitement.
She poured a red liquid in one of the pans.
We all looked at each other, wondering if something fell from the sky and hit Mommy on the head.
She filled the other buckets too, one was blue, another red, and still another was yellow.
“Okay, have at it,” she said with a wild giggle.
I looked at Lucas, who simply shrugged his shoulders, uncertain of what was happening.
“Ummmm,” I began to bark.
“Oh, for goodness sake,” Mommy said picking Rapi up. She rubbed her nose against his then deposited the orange cat into the pan with the thick blue liquid.
“Nooooooooooooooo,” he screeched.
“Oh my gosh, she has lost it,” I barked, overwhelmed first by Lucas’s news and now by this.
Rapi leapt from the plastic container and traipsed around on the paper.
“Oh, look,” Yehudi squealed, pointing her black arm at the blue paw marks on the paper.
“Wow, pretty,” Bella purred.
“What the heck,” the orange cat grumbled until he turned to see what was causing the commotion.
“Oh, that is very cool,” he said, walking over and dipping a paw in the red paint then smearing it on the paper.
“Wait here,” Lucas said, all wrapped up in the excitement of the moment.
I watched and wondered what he was up to. The big golden retriever walked over to Rapi and whispered something to the cat, then returned to me.
“Let’s watch for a while,” Lucas said with a smile.
Together we plopped down and watched the cats play what looked like a game of telephone, whispering into each other’s ears.
“Watch,” Lucas said.
Together we sat on the carpet. I couldn’t help but enjoy the warmth of Lucas’s body seeping into mine. We watched the cats with great interest as they set about the task that the golden dog had put them up to.
Rapi dipped his paw in the yellow paint and began to smear it around on a blank sheet of paper. He hesitated for a moment. After putting some deep thought into it, his paw began to arc and swirl around his canvas. I still wasn’t sure what he was doing, but I could see that there was some purpose behind it.
Moments later, it all began to make sense to me. I watched with awe as the orange cat gave himself over to his masterpiece. In front of my very eyes, the paint coalesced into the form of Lucas.
Rapi stepped back to admire his work of art for a moment. Once satisfied, he nodded to Yehudi, who dabbed her little paw into the red paint. The little black and white cat splashed a paw print on top of the yellow eye that Rapi had left behind. Once that was complete Bella stepped forward and added a touch of blue. She mixed it all together until it formed the brownish gold color of Lucas’s eyes.
“Lucas, that is so cool,” I said drinking in the features of his face.
“They are not done yet,” he said.
I watched as the process unfolded again. This time the cats produced a brown dog with floppy ears, who sat cheek to cheek with the golden retriever.
“Lucas,” I said, awestruck.
“Wait, one more thing,” he said as he rose to his feet and strolled over to the bucket of red paint.
Tears formed in the corner of my eye and trickled down my cheek. My boyfriend completed the painting by placing us inside of a giant red heart.
“I am so lucky,” my voice hoarse as I whispered, then kissed his cheek.
“So very lucky!”
Lucas left a week later. Mommy hung that painting on the wall across from my bed. It is the perfect place for it because now I can start and end my day seeing his happy face. It reminds me that I am loved by a kind and gentle dog.
I have burned that day in my mind, and it keeps me going as I wait to feel his gentle k