The dog is a new thing in our lives. My oldest daughter lives nearby with a sweet and curious dog. Yesterday, we brought the dog into our house to meet our two house cats. One cat remained on the kitchen table in his beloved cardboard box (I know, I know who allows things like this? a cat in a box on the kitchen table not for an hour or a day but for months?), paw crooked over the edge of the box, looking at the dog in the cool disdainful way of felines. Our other cat trembled in the doorway, holding his ground. Curious, cautious, verging on endearing and ridiculous. The dog seemed just happy to be there.
We decided to swim and took a giant floatie shaped like a pineapple that I had bought last year for camping. Jammed in the trunk, the floatie hung over the backseat which bothered the dog, who moved into the passenger seat. My daughters sat in the back under the floatie. I drove and talked to the dog. The wind blew in through the windows, muting my daughters’ voices. So many miles I drove with kids in the back, looking over my hands on the steering wheel. For few miles, I was back in the world of young motherhood.
Despite the heat, the lake wasn’t crowded in the least. A woman walked down the sandy path holding a beer can. She and the group at the far end exclaimed that they hadn’t seen each other in thirty years. My oldest whispered, Thirty years? I answered, What’s thirty years, really, forgetting entirely for a moment my daughter is far younger than thirty.
The drive to the lake was a short one. After swimming, we went up the road to the general store and ate pizza on the deck. We chatted with people we saw all the time, and some we hadn’t seen in years. The dog — good creature — waited patiently.