The room is dark. It's somewhere close to ten. My old glasses slip down my face, reminding me yet again that I need them resized as my "new" ones are out of commission with a four month old labrador scratch. I lift the cold Strongbow cider to my face and press the can against my warm cheek. The thermometer beeps 99.7 under my arm. I sigh. I have lost track of when I last took Tylenol and would rather not overdose and blow my liver. Maybe I'll just sleep it off.
My ribs and back muscles are finally complaining at the repetition of frequent coughs during the day. I lay flat, staring up at the ceiling where the owner before me stuck three randomly placed stars.
"It would have been cooler if she would have placed them in a line, like Orion's belt," I say to Orion who's head is resting on my chest.
I ricochet upwards responding to a cough, grabbing my ribs with one arm. Orion's head looks at me, concerned, or annoyed, I really can't be sure in the dark.
I settle back down.
"The cough syrup sucks. Plus it's gross. Who would ever want to get high off of something that gross?" I say recalling a story from a friend. He puts his head back down. It was suggested alcohol worked better than cough syrup. Whiskey specifically. I dug in my fridge but came up with Strongbow as really the only beverage I would drink with alcohol anyways.
"Have I told you lately that I am so glad you're in my world?" Orion likely hears this about three to four times a day. "It's true. Being sick by myself would suck. I like that you keep me company. And my mom wants you in day care tomorrow if I'm still sick. Huh. I would miss you."
I am a third of a way through the can.
"Are you burning up? It is so freaking hot in here. Let me open a window." I move my creaky, sore body towards the old window frames and throw some effort into moving them open an inch. I rotate to lay the opposite way across my bed.
"Orion, you ever wonder if I'll be dating someone again? Or like maybe when you and I will actually have our farm?"
Half the can is gone.
"If I had a farm now I'd get you a little black buddy. You could play like crazy and be the best of friends." I pause, can resting on my chest, "But I kind of like that just you and I get to bond you know?"
"You were pretty dirty today. I bet you just had the best time though. It makes me super happy to see you have such a good time. That's why you're a spoiled dog. I do what I can to let you have the best life ever. Did you know that?"
He shifts to have his back bump up against mine. I can tell he's taking each word so seriously.
"It's kind of silly drinking this beer in the dark with my glasses on you know."
He says nothing.
"I'm not even feeling tired yet."
"Are you still listening to me?" I pat his back.
"Probably someone would laugh if they saw us just hanging out here having life conversations, hacking my lungs up, blowing snot, drinking a Stongbow and talking to you as if you were my best ever drinking buddy."
I can hear his breathing.
"That's why you're my dog though."