Linda showed up at our house at 7:30-ish. That was our agreement over email, complete with the “ish.” “Ish” is my way of warning that I have two children under six, work full-time, and am no stranger to adult attention deficit. If you’re late, or early, I will understand. Time management is an oxymoron in my world. Add “ish” and at least I’m self-aware.
Linda pulled her Camry right to our front gate and waved out the window. I imagined the scene as she saw it — lovely daughters, just slightly dishevled, eating popiscles on the front porch swing and giggling. White porch dappled with light from the setting, summer sun. Dear husband (DH) watering the new azalea bushes. My lipgloss? Fresh. Light. I may have heard music.
“Hi there,” I called through my most fabulous smile.
Then, “you gonna shower now?” I whisper-hissed to my husband through said, sparkling smile.
Linda is a volunteer for American Brittany Rescue. She conducts home visits with families interested in adopting, and oh, I was interested. At that moment there were only two forces driving my behavior. The first — less force really, than prim old-lady voice inside my head — was my maternal grandmother chirping, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” (Seriously, the man ran five miles and smelled like a hunk of cheese. Expecting that he think ahead and be showered was not exactly an expectation on par with those of aStepford Wife.)
The second force, truly a force, was the deep hollowness I have felt for the last three months. We euthenized our Brittany, Samson, on March 5, 2010. He’d been suffering from cancer.
DH sighed his you-realize-you’re-being-ridiculous sigh and acquiesed to my shower request. I responded with a slap to his behind. I’m-no-stranger-to-ridiculous.
My two-year-old pressed her melting, half-eaten rocket pop into my palm. “Can I watch a show? Pleeeeese?”
And Linda — this ABR angel with perfectly separated Maybeline lashes who had the power to fill the chasm in my heart — crossed the threshold to our home.