Millie and Luna. Quite the four-legged pair. Both are white/cream-colored. One a Bali dog, the other a labradoodle. They sniff each other out. They circle around each other – tail to butt. Their tails curl up (or down), their butts wag.
It’s Millie’s home base. When Luna saunters over – looking for food, playtime or love – it’s a crap shoot: Will Millie smile and play fair – or will she grit and growl, baring her teeth into a quasi-villainous attitude? I want to tell her: Give it up, girl, you’re too sweet for that. Instead, I say: don’t you worry, we all have enough love for the both of you!
But when it comes to me, they give it up themselves – hitting me with a whole lotta love. No questions asked. At least one of them is sprawled on the terrace most mornings. Quite the sight when I’d draw open the drapes and open the door. A big yawn, a flutter of the eyes, a roll onto the side with that expectant look that says: hey, I need a tummy rub. So I’d crouch down, nearly toppling myself over when their excited furry bodies came back to life.
It was clear that they’d sense when I needed their love in return. Which is exactly what happened.
It started slowly, early on in the week. Little things. But sometimes it’s those little things, they are the very ones that somehow have a way of growing bigger…
By mid-week, it was well and truly scaling up. Mud was slung at me from every direction.
I was annoyed when an expensive 1-hour body treatment went awry, because unexpected surrounding noises didn’t let up, because the house flies hovered incessantly – and because the session ended before I even had a chance to relax.
Then a peeler suddenly sliced oh-so-beautifully but unexpectedly into my left thumb as I tried to peel a lime. Blimey Wednesday. Blood dripping, staining, running.
Bloody flies. Still circling, landing on food, my face, every counter-top and surface.
The tech-gods went crazy too: My entire email system went on (uninvited, technical) hiatus. Banking and financial situations went awry. Work projects (3 at once) were cancelled. I couldn’t help wondering what set all of this off. And then, as if the Bali spirits and tech-gods needed to remind me that it wasn’t quite at an end…
I got a stark reminder that those accident-related sequelae may rear their wily heads whenever they damn well want.
So, out of fury or hysteria-induced humor, I decided (damn it) to rename the whole damn thing: Intercontinental Urge. Never heard of it? Well, I’ve re-ordered the words and revised the phrase. Why not put a comical spin on it, re-cast it as a term that might in other circumstances be used to describe a tectonic shift or a strong desire to travel overseas. No?
Sure, you might call it denial: Why not call a spade a spade? Well I suppose that, together with all the other sequelae and invisible inabilities that seem to be mine for keeps, it’s perhaps the best coping mechanism I’ve found; to avoid getting completely unhinged by yet another return-of-the-nerve-damaged-induced-inability-to-control-my-urn-filled-vacation.
So yes, this is what happened. I racked up meltdown after meltdown. I didn’t dare leave the house. And I was blessed to have a friend (and housemate, for a time) who gave me space to vent and helped out.
But mostly, and blessedly, there were two lovely creatures that saved the day. Millie and Luna. The dogsy twins. With that typical canine-knack for intuiting despair, depression, illness or a host of other human failings, foibles and down-and-outnesses, they surrounded me, pushed their furry faces into mine, licked and wagged at me, for awhile didn’t let me out of their sight.
And then, there were three (of us). We lay by the pool (mere steps from the house, about as far as I dared venture), looking out over a sun setting behind palm trees, jungle and rice fields, with Millie’s body splayed across mine, Luna on the recliner nearby, her paw resting on my arm, both of them glancing up at me periodically, as if to say, hey, don’t worry… we’ve got your back. (As long as you keep scratching ours 😉