I don’t like my ankles to itch. Another lifetime ago, with Guy, I had two little dogs. Shih Tzus. They would come in from outside and bite my big toes. I don’t like my feet to tickle. I would discourage them from their activity by kicking my feet forward from the chair upon which I sat.
A lady bug flew in from the open window. She settled nearby. The little dogs went after her in a black, brown, and white fury, their paws the size of a quarter. The lady bug is sharp; she flies off before her impeding death.
I no longer fly away. My body is of earth. The bloom that I am flourishes with clean air. I no longer seek gas or exhaust.
I would wake to walk the little dogs. They vibrated with excitement as I clipped on their leashes. I can only wish to be that excited, to have my skin tingle in anticipation of connecting with the sidewalk, of leaving the safety of wood floors and lowly light for the far reaching sun.
Today is my new life. The little dogs are in Florida with Guy. The two black cats I have leave my feet alone unless I have on shoes. Then they sniff. I read that when they sniff shoes, they are discovering where it is I have been. I wonder what the grocery store smells like. I avoided the spilled peach juice while my hands got lost in the avocados, hoping just one would welcome my squeeze, give in to my fingers.
I’m certain the floor of the grocery is mopped regularly. It is not the produce at waist high that Grams and Annie smell, but rather the wax that leaves the floor shining.
I am connected to the sidewalk without the little dogs. My legs bend rhythmically, no march here. The military at one time called to me just as the nun in the cathedral. I was desperate for discipline, for a plan, for structure, willing to stay my virgin self or to muscle my way through boot camp. Neither manifested.
Today, I am disciplined. I have a plan. I have structure. I fill the cats’ bowls with kibbles. Often, I miss the little dogs but Grams too gives me kisses while Annie stretches on the bed, resting her head on my leg. I have grown use to their unleashed lives. I wake to walk myself, and walk I do for an hour. My heart pumping. My mind intact.