It was a dark, cold, rainy morning. After I struggled to pull myself out of bed, shower and dress, I slipped as quietly as I could from the room so as not to disturb my husband or dogs. I failed.
One of my dogs, Harvey, ever vigilant, heard and watched me exit, then hurried to join me by slipping through the closing door (an easy feat for his quick paws and tiny, 4.5 pound frame) leaving the warm bed and his sister and other father behind. After a quick and reluctant excursion into the wet back yard for some morning “business,” he eagerly returned to the house, wherein he settled by a heating vent under our dining room buffet, quietly gnawing on his purple spiked ball while basking in the warm air being forced through our vents, looking up now and again at me, perhaps to reassure himself that I was still there, or perhaps as an invitation to join him.
I watched him from afar, sipping coffee on the sofa in my living room and steeling myself for the drive and work day ahead, neither of which I was looking forward to. It had been a long, difficult work week and I was anxious to leave it behind. That attitude, coupled with the dismal conditions outside, made for a compelling case to call into work and stay home, where I could shut out the world and spend the day basking in the unconditional love and affection from my two biggest four-legged fans.
But that is wishful thinking, and not going to work is not really an option. So, I force the thought from my mind and try to enjoy the silence and comfort of those few precious moments, when the only thing that is real is the taste of my coffee, the comfort of my sofa, the warmth of my home, the sight of my dog playing happily by himself, and the rhythmic pit-a-pat of the falling rain outside my window. My life is filled with too few of this peaceful, stress free moments of late, so I try to cherish what few come along as I can. Once the moment passes, far too quickly, I regretfully say good-bye to my pup as I kiss him on the head and return him to the warmth and security of the family bed, exit the bedroom for the second time this morning, grab my backpack and keys, and head out into the darkness.
I climb into my car, start the engine, turn on the headlights and back out of the driveway slowly, as those familiar feelings of anxiety and dejection begin to well up in me once again. I am not happy where I have to go, but I am resigned to going. With a final sigh, I nod a silent good-bye to my family and oasis and drive off into the rain as I begin the mental countdown to the time when I can return home once again. It will only be 8 hours and 30 minutes but, at that moment, it seems like an eternity away.