The Sole Mate 22.4 “Fourteen Days”

I survived the breakers, but I was still being pulled offshore. I could see another set of big waves forming on the horizon, which is scary when you can see them that far away. But they didn’t matter so much anymore. The shoreline was receding so quickly I had to get back. I reversed direction and swam like crazy, but I was only holding my ground, er, water. The tide was too strong and I realized I could not fight it. There were a few surfers paddling on their boards not far down coast, and much closer to the coast than me and I thought, since when am I, not-jock Mark, out beyond the fuckin’ surfers? I began screaming, “Help! Help me! Help! A couple of them turned their heads toward me but I could tell they didn’t give a fuck. After all, I was some idiot invading their “territory”. They’d just as soon see me drown and I gave up. Even if I’d had some hope in the human race, the distance was so far, and I needed to conserve my energy, I realized my screams might only be playful, gleeful yips of joy to them in that great surf. Who knows?

But I thought this was it. The shore was still receding from me fast. I was being pulled out to sea without any hope of ever making it back. I laid back in the water, floating, and was thinking: “So this is how I die. ” The great mystery, the great question of all our lives was now being answered. Now I knew. And to my surprise I surrendered to it. To fight it and try to swim back to shore would only exhaust me and quicken the death. A profound relaxation and peacefulness swept over me. I looked up at the clouds, admiring their beauty one last time in the shifting colors of the setting sun. For the first, and last, time in my life I was feeling the over powering course of nature taking control of me. There was nothing, nothing, I could do about it. And of course that is reality. We are all beings that live ephemeral lives between our creation and destruction by the natural forces.

Then, as I lay on my back contemplating the beauty and awesome power of nature, I saw the shore moving rightward. What? I was now moving, by the power of natural forces, up the coast. Before long those mountains were moving closer. More swells were coming in, but they were much smaller, and they were pushing me back to shore. Before I knew it, they were rudely shoving me, spanking and slapping me toward the beach. I had given up my life to nature, but the forces of the ocean were literally spitting me back up onto the beach. Raggedly I hit the sand, scraping my bottom and legs, and then it was all over. I was thrown up on the beach, the small waves thrashing me, saying “get out of here”. And I stood in the wobbly surf and walked onto the beach.

This time, there was nothing I could do about Hurricane. Waves of helplessness and the loss of control over my life and Hurricane’s began washing over me. I became frantic and powerless. He had stopped eating. But I was still in the final denial.

I did not sleep that night, though I tried. I lay awake in bed only to get up, pace the house, get back in bed and get up again. I’d check on Hurricane, he was always lying on his side on the floor, raising his head to look at me and then going back to sleep. Sometime during the darkest wee hours of the night came the cruel coda, the final confirmation and insult, the snuffing of my last shred of hope. The awareness descended upon me with all its crushing sorrow — Hurricane was dying.

By this time it was anti-climatic. It had been staring me in the face for days and I was both uncomprehending it and denying it. And I began the deep, heaving, wrenching out loud wailing.

Another epiphany occurred to me, in the darkness of that night — this god damned dog was the only being that ever really loved me in my entire live — and I him. Not my parents, at least not emotionally, or my brothers, or Craig, or any fucking one else. But hell, that’s most of us, right? Except for the lucky few who find soul mates without codependence or abuse.

At this point time, which had been slowing for a week, sped up. I was exhausted after two nights of almost no sleep.

Wednesday morning I gave him even wetter food — sweet blueberry yoghurt. Surely a dog will gulp up sweets. And Hurricane casually lapped it up. I was relieved — he was eating again — maybe there was hope. But the day turned into a smoky bad dream. I floated in a cloud of ethereal confusion and nothingness. I paced the house. At times I felt like I was treading in water, dog paddling just like Hurricane did only I wasn’t going anywhere. In the evening I gave Hurricane another bowl of yoghurt but he only lapped it half heartedly and left most of it. I slid the small amount of yoghurt into the fridge. To alleviate my panic I decided to take him for a walk. I grabbed the leash; he noticed but just watched me blankly. “Come on, Hurricane. Walk!” I announced, and let him out into the back yard. I walked to the gate and opened it, still holding the lead. But he just stood in the middle of the yard staring at me, another first.

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