This is how I prefer to sleep. Alone. Sometimes I retreat into the warmth of these bedsheets, other times I lie uncovered under the fan, listening to its electric hum. There is something innately soothing in that sound, and I believe it has to do with the absence of all other noise. There is no Fremlin crying out in her sleep. No Mingus bleating for the prison guard. Just the cool hum and the internal clamor of my thoughts.
And then? Enter the dog. He is quite the disruptive creature. Fremlin now will not leave the guest bedroom. Mingus is quick to jump onto a table or shelf. And me? How has this dog changed my life?
There are too many instances to enumerate here, but I shall give you the one most on my mind at the moment. That sound of electricity I just spoke of? The lovely solitude I enjoyed while lying on the spare bed?
It is no more. Now the three of us must lie together, struggling for comfort, jostling each other out of the way. Fremlin frets and dreams terrible dreams (I know she has bad dreams because she has confided in me as much - we are not friends, but we are united in our feelings of revulsion for the dog), while Mingus stretches out as wide and as long as he can (he is quite the bed hog), and my solitude is absolutely vaporized.
Maybe you are wondering if this new proximity to my feline inmates has made me happier? Has made me feel more accepted? A part of a community?
I just finished reading "Everything Matters!," by Ron Currie Jr., and while I was rather underwhelmed by the novel as a whole, the ending I found quite moving. He writes: "You listen and feel pity for these people. You wish they understood, as you do, that there is no escape and never was, that from the moment two cells combined to become one they were doomed" (302).
How can their company comfort me? Yes they lie here with me, and so together we slowly die, but neither has ever attempted to peer into my intricate heart. Neither has shaken me awake from a nightmare to soothe me. And even if they had this would only serve to illustrate our disconnection. "What did you dream of," they might inquire, and I would fail to find the words to adequately describe the brilliance of those horrors.
Sleeping with them merely reminds me how alone I am, and yet it is frustrating to have lost that old, comfortable solitude. I miss sleeping alone. I miss listening to the sound of the fan. I have thought about this a lot, and I still cannot understand why they brought home that dog.
Perhaps it was to punish me.