I’ve been thinking about dogs today. About their owners/keepers. About my Dad.
I think the guy with the dog that ran into my fellow hiker, and who then was reluctant-at-best to leash the dog after she got injured is now removed from the hiking group. I think that’s just. He didn’t come back to help us carry her down. While I’m not a fan of leaving dogs in cars in Texas in the summertime, we aren’t in Texas. It was a cold day; carrying a person down the trail is a hard job even for a sizeable group of people, and the dog could have been left in the car.
That makes me think of my father and the dogs in his life. He had a lady friend with a Boston terrier. I think he liked her better than the dog, but maybe it was a toss up. The Boston had a rough childhood with older dogs that beat up on him, and his attitude toward the rest of the canine world was, “it’s me or you, and I’m getting my licks in first.” He’d attack any other dog without provocation.
Dad would still let him off leash. I know Dad paid several ~$500 vet bills because of “accidents”. He still couldn’t bear to keep the Boston on a leash.
Later, he had another friend with another two dogs, and Dad loved these dogs too, taking them for walks, and again, he couldn’t bear to keep them on a leash. Until one day one of them ran out into traffic, was hit by a car and killed. Dad was sorry, but sorry in the sense of saying so, not in the sense of doing something about it.
I loved my Dad, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t always respect my Dad or like my Dad. To this day, thinking about this makes me feel sick in my stomach. And sad, deeply sad, because I just don’t understand it.
Sad, too, because I realize that one of his legacies is that I have never had a man in my life who has had my back. When the going got tough, I took care of it. I took care of us. Or I took care of me. I shut up and dealt. I didn’t like it, but after all, in my world growing up, men are never responsible for anything. They may be “sorry”, but they aren’t sorry. If I don’t toe the line, if I complain, if I insist then I nag, and I become a harridan like my mother. Since that’s the last thing in the world I want to do, I put up with a hell of a lot of shit.
A hell of a lot of shit.
I wonder if there were good men in my life, and I didn’t recognize them at the time. Or if I picked the best of what I had available to me (after college, never exactly a glut of suitors).
I wonder if I’ll ever find someone again. If I do if I’ll find myself again putting up with a hell of a lot of shit. Whether I will tell it to take a hike. Whether I have finally changed enough that if I let him in my life, that it will be better. If I will ever again find anyone at all.
I try not to focus on loneliness. On feeling unloved. None of that gets you anywhere but a pity party. Focus on the love you want to give, not the love you want to get. It works better that way. But days, some days, today, all of this tastes like ashes, and I want what I wanted, what I still want, and I know I will never get it, and I will have to make do.
And tomorrow I will wake up and make do better than anyone has ever made do before. But tonight, tonight, I am sad for all that was, and for all that is, and for all that will not be.