So, when I opened the door and was smacked across the face with some nasty, oniony, curried godknowswhat kind of stink, I felt like Max. My place smelled like I just tricked with Mahatma Gandhi. I haven’t lived in an apartment building in quite some time, not since New York in the mid-90s, and sharing air space is a slow and begrudging adjustment.
We’re making due, Bob and I, but Bob misses his backyard and our nightly cookie game, and I miss the simple walk up to our porch and opening our screen door. Bob’s dinner wasn’t just slapping food into a bowl. Oh, no. It was an event that made him giggle, if dogs could actually do that. The truth is, we probably enjoyed it more than Bob. He’d rush through his bowl of Eukanuba while we praised his good-dogness as he ate. Then it was time to Find The Cookies!, a deceptively simple game where we would throw his biscuits far into the backyard and he would hunt them down with all of the precision of Sherlock Holmes. It was a game of hot-and-cold and we’d stand on the back porch with Bob, his ears folded back in concentration, running around and settling the minute he found a treat. After he claimed all of his prizes, he had the odd habit of running his face up and down the concrete wall of the back house, at times worrying us that he’d rub his whiskers right off.
For me, there was always comfort walking into out little gate through the ivy archway Billy had made and up to our wooden porch. The screen door never fitted just right and would flap in the wind if not latched, but that was okay. It lent a certain charm to the overall effect of entering our home. I miss walking through the front door, and smelling whatever the Plug-In Du Jour was, and feeling the old wooden slats under my shoes. I miss rounding the corner, into our bedroom and kicking off my shoes into the closet. I miss the sea breeze making the gauze curtains in the bedroom dance with the wind.
But what I miss most of all is yelling that old cliché, “Honey, I’m home!” and getting back a response.
Last night, I lit a bunch of scented candles I received for Christmas gifts and bundled up to take him for a walk. By the time I got back, not even the flickering garden of earthly delights could mask that stench. I made four oliveloaf and American cheese sandwiches, grabbed my bag of Wavy Lays, and sat in front of the TV with a scowl. That is, until Bob climbed up on the couch with me and cuddled.