“Did Mutt serve as a pack mule for your travels?”
Fat has a brief moment to spy the mud-spattered dog before he charges into the apartment leaving me in the hall with my bag of dirty laundry and his bag of prescriptions, food and toys. I honestly think I packed more stuff for Mutt than myself. By the time I lazily kick the bags into the apartment and shut the door, Mutt has Fat pinned on the carpet. Her back legs kick out in protest as he chews on her ear.
“He’s happy to see me. Why is he happy to see me?” Fat’s grey face pokes out from being smothered by Mutt’s cream-coloured fur. “Get this thing off of me. Get him off.” Urgency fills her sentences and the good doctor sounds on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
My hands grab around the dried mud of Mutt’s hind legs and I propel him off Fat with a wheelbarrow manoeuvre. Mutt’s face turns over his shoulder, giving me a look of pathetic misunderstanding as to why his front legs keep getting forced forward in awkward steps. He then sees his travel bag of goodies tipped over in the hall and he dashes out of my grasp to chew on his stuffed alien dog.
“Fat, don’t deny his affection. You should be grateful that somebody in this apartment cares so much about you.” I pull off my hoodie and drop it on the hall table. “How did things go well I was away.”
“How did it go?” Fat slowly repeats the question to buy herself time to remember. “I watched that movie Bernie – I dare say it is Jack Black at his finest, I had a sleepover with my cuddle buddy on Saturday – I didn’t think you would mind. Oh. And I spent the entire weekend drinking out of the toilet.” She smiles at me, but it doesn’t appear to be a happy smile.
“Why did you–”
“It’s a whole thing and I don’t want to get into it. Just for the record, you are never to leave me again, okay?” It’s phrased like a question, but this is clearly a demand. Fat, annoyed, licks her paw and attempts to remove traces of Mutt’s saliva from her fur. She shoots me a quick glance. “At least you seem to be doing better. You’re not wearing that stress all over your face. I trust that your trip to the home land served you well.” Fat scowls as she brushes flecks of dry mud from her fur. “Seriously, where did this come from?”
“We went for a hike with my parents before we drove home.” I press the dark pink colour on my shoulder, watch the patch of skin turn momentarily white and then turn pink again.
The feline lets out an obnoxious, insincere laugh that comes to a halt when she sees my sunburnt arms. “I’m sorry. You said hike and I thought it was a joke. You don’t hike.”
“I think I might start… I liked it.” Though, I might consider sunscreen on my next time out to change it up a bit.
Fat seems to have completely forgotten about cleaning her fur. She assesses me for sincerity and the pause in conversation stretches out into sixteen hours. “No you didn’t. You just think you did. I’d bet many dollars that you’ll drop this idea of wanting to be a hiker within a week. I’ve heard stories of your parents – howling at the moon types that they are. Frankly, you probably only liked this morning’s hike because you were still drunk from the night before.”
“You can’t prove that.” The fact that we were up until almost sunrise drinking and shooting pool the night previous is only further evidence to her claims. I keep that information inside my head and smile. I love my parents. They’re a couple of rock stars.
“We’ll see, boss. You’re more of a sayer than a doer. And those times you are a doer, it’s usually done half-assed on the effort scale.”
“I beg your pardon?” Instant rage fills me, then subsides when I decide that I need a shower. Also, I’m kind of hungry. I might want some tea and some quiet time on the couch reading. My thoughts go full circle until I’m back at my stance of being offended.
“Boss. Really?” Fat rolls her eyes, catches sight of the dog as she does so and then looks disgusted. “You even dropped the ball on going on an actual vacation. You were talking about that months ago. You were talking about going to Ontario.”
Oh yeah. I forgot about that.
“Maybe it’s not my fault that I’m a sayer and not a doer. I have intentions, but I lack the memory to remind myself to see things through. Fat, after I shower, I’m going to start doing some things.” I wander into the bathroom and turn on the water.
I can hear Fat still talking in the hallway.
“Do what you want. However, you won’t be going on that vacation. Did you not hear me say you’re never leaving me again?”