my spotted heaven

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

2011-09-12 - Dogs Outside - 0033

Often I found myself desiring simple things and I would get them. Riches in furry packages. Dogs.

Every day in my heaven tiny dogs and big dogs, dogs of every kind, ran through the park outside my room. When I opened the door I saw them fat and happy, skinny and hairy, lean and hairless even. Pitbulls rolled on their backs, the nipples of the females distended and dark, begging for their pups to come and suckle them, happy in the sun. Bassets tripped over their ears, ambling forward, nudging the rumps of the dachshunds, the ankles of greyhounds, and the heads of the Pekingese. And when Holly took her tenor sax, set herself up outside the door that looked onto the park, and played the blues, the hounds all ran to form her chorus. On their haunches they say wailing. Other doors opened then, and women stepped out from where they lived alone or with roommates. I would step outside, Holly would go into an endless encore, the sun going down, and we would dance with the dogs – all of us together. We chased them, they chased us. We circled tail to tail. We wore spotted gowns, flowered gowns, striped gowns, plain. When the moon was high the music would stop. The dancing stopped. We froze.

Mrs. Bethel Utemeyer, the oldest resident of my heaven, would bring out her violin. Holly trod lightly on her horn. They would do a duet. One woman old and silent, one woman not past girl yet. Back and forth, a crazy schizoid solace they’d create.

All the dancers would go slowly inside. The song reverberated until Holly, for a final time, passed the tune over, and Mrs. Utemeyer, quiet, upright, historical, finished with a jig.

The house asleep by then; this was my Evensong.

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (pp. 34-35)

So I just started reading The Lovely Bones, and am right now looking at a copy of Year of the Dog newly arrived from Netflix. Apparently I’m not depressed enough already? (On tap for tomorrow: vigorous self-flagellation.)

My heaven – if I believed in heaven, and I wish desperately at times like this that I did believe, or could will myself to – would look something like this: acres upon acres of greenery, home to dogs (and cats and rats and cows and pigs) of all shapes and sizes. Dogs I’d loved and lost, and dogs I never had the pleasure of meeting. Dogs I couldn’t save, but wanted to. Millions upon millions of them. Dogs who never received the love and care they deserved in the physical world. And – because heaven is forever and infinite – I’d finally be able to show them all the kindness and compassion I’d wanted to all along. A lifetime’s worth, and then some.

Same for the cats and rats and cows and pigs.