Sitting on the floor with Toby this morning in our usual spot. He's playing kill the octopus. I'm a prop in his game - the retriever and fellow growler. I'm bone tired and something else. Not feeling playful at all. He's all boy right now. Rough and tumble. Flying helicopter legs. Gaping maw full of puppy teeth driven by emerging adolescent energy.
Even his soft puppy wool is gone. There are wispy tumbleweeds of it drifting across my kitchen floor. All that's left of his early puppyhood. His coat is smooth and sleek - the individual hairs coarse. His ears are still soft and sweet, but he won't hold still long enough for me to find comfort in them.
The sweet puppy breath is gone. His once always adoring eyes are frequently full of challenge. Greetings that were once full of inside out pleasure are more often than not manic cartoon dog attacks of insane energy. Hind legs tucked up around his ears. Front legs back by his tail. Eyes glazed with glee.
Pat asked me this week if it's harder for me to love and be loved by a man that it is for me to love and be loved by a woman.
Yes, damn you.
Men leave. Men hurt you. Men are full of hard unreachable places.
I wanted a male puppy. Three of my four dogs in adulthood have been male. I love their mellowness, steady disposition, big lumbering affection.
I can't ever remember not wanting to be married. Wanting the security and safety and strength I believed a husband would provide. Not realizing how much that desire was my unfathered girls desperately wanting daddy. I can't ever remember not wanting my marriage to be something else than what it is.
A week ago I heard the father who gave me life tell me to live this life. The joy and hope I felt then has become throat-closing sadness, and something else.
When I'm correcting Toby I can feel a force of energy demanding release. It's not energy his transgressions have earned or ever could earn. I refuse to give it voice. I am reluctant to give it a name.
Cupboard doors that I touch somehow slam. Hard. My shins and toes hurt from banging against door frames that are somehow in a different place than they were a week ago. I step on cat litter in the bathroom and find Sigourney Weaver's Alien suddenly desperately trying to chew its way out of my chest.
Toby is being what he is - a pup growing into a dog. Marriage is what it is - two imperfect people sharing their journey and becoming together. My life is what it is - according to the voices of last weekend, perfect for me.
So this something else that demands voice - it is what it is. It will be heard one way or the other. I asked for the truth and can't send it back like undercooked fish at a restaurant. It has a name. Rage. It has a need. Release. It has gifts to give. It's time to find out what they are.