I come home from work and I'm buzzing. Adrenalyn buzzing. Appointments were behind, phone was ringing off the hook etc. etc. Pulling in a hour later than I should have, I half expected to hear Orion's high pitched barking from the outside of the apartment. "Boy does he know your car," my neighbor once said, as I lept out and commented that Orion never barks. "He hasn't been barking at all till you pulled up." I paused. "Could be cause you can hear my breaks squeak all the way in Texas." The old woman chuckled and went back to rocking in her chair. Tonight though it's quiet. I loop through the door, feel my way through the dark to the switch above his crate.
"How is my boy?" I ask as I watch him lazily move from his curled position in the back of his crate. As he emerges I just can't help but smile at his little Santa kerchief my mom sent in the mail propped sideways on his body.
"Do I get my wookie hello?" He stretches and starts his usual wookie greeting before moseying over to the door to be let out.
Outside it's quiet, the kind of quiet that makes me think I am the sole person awake on the planet. The moon has a hazy cloud dulling it's brightness, the stars blink around me.
"You wanna go for a walk?" I glance to Zachary's window as he is often my night walking buddy. The window is dark. It is past ten after all.
Orion and I head out down the sidewalk. A couple is talking in a dark car. I think of my mother and how she would not be thrilled to know I'm walking alone at night. I think of the fact I'm in karate and if I could take two people at once. I think of how cool I look in my blue vest that I stole from home. How very New England. And how I use to be told I couldn't wear it because I looked gay. We cross the street. Orion stirs up a bunny rabbit and I nearly jump out of my skin as my arm is ripped sideways and I see a little white tail bounding across the fenced yard. Orion the constellation shines brightly above my head.
"I named you for Orion to ground me," I say. I pause reflecting. "It was the only constellation I could always find. and I think it was a good choice as you do a nice job grounding me."
I see the houses lit up for Christmas, trees aglow in the windows, lights and blown up Santa's in the front yard.
"Someday Orion, I'll get us a house."
Orion is completely on point, trotting, nose and ears erect. Labrador instinct fully activated.
"I tell you what. I will make it my goal to have a house by thirty-two. I'm almost twenty-eighty now, so that gives me four years to save."
I think about this.
"Huh. I may be getting too old to have babies."
"I think I would like to have a baby some day." I picture this.
"But it may not be in the cards for me and if that's the case that's okay too. I mean, I'm not even close to married. But then Carolyn just got married, she's older than me, and she still can have babies." I rattle on. "Yeah. That makes me feel better."
We keep walking. A car is parked across the street with the lights on. I think of spy shows and stakeouts. I think of boyfriends and girlfriends getting in fights. Of drug deals. I see my breath in the night air. We cross to the apartments.
"Well that was just perfect don't you think?"
Orion bounds up the stairs.