Our little dog Lilou sleeps where she wants at night. Much to our chagrin her choice rarely includes our bed. We did our best to raise her to be needy and deeply dependent on us, and we failed.
Arnaud and I frequently find ourselves sitting on the ground, speaking in voices befitting a scene of hysteria or drug-use, competing for most animated, non-words spoken in 60 seconds. We act like assholes when we talk to our dog. We adore her, and she most certainly adores us, but her love does not require her to sleep in our bed, and Arnaud and I have had to talk ourselves down from some dark places as a result. "Why does she not sleep with us?" Arnaud asked me one night. He had sweet talked Lilou into our bed with his French and tummy-tickles (exactly the same way he had seduced me) and had clearly had high hopes - but the moment we switched off the light we heard the inevitable, "PLOOP... ticka-tack, ticka-tack, ticka-tack," as she jumped off our bed and walked to the couch for the night. Arnaud cried silently for a moment and then began soothing his sadness with logic, a balm used by the French only slightly less frequently than denial, "She is probably not very tired yet.... and I am GLAD she does not sleep with us... there is no room... what a great dog."
It has been snowing all day - cold, quiet, insistent snow, covering up all the trash on the roads and turning my breath to clouds and Lilou's shit to stark, steaming magic.
When I told Arnaud over the phone that I lost the pregnancy he was quiet for a moment and then said, "I am so glad, Pookie. I am glad because it is almost sure that it would have been the second Hitler and destroyed the world." I cry-laughed and agreed, thank GOD we were miscarrying. The man surprises me every time by somehow finding the perfect way into shine light into my shattered self. Refracted light is the only light I trust, and it happens to be his specialty. I have never loved him more.
Lilou has slept with us all week. With her face of an ewok and body of a rabbit-soft, floppy, bony chicken, and she has entered our bed with a vengeance, wanting not just to sleep with us but also to imprint her body onto ours while doing so. She finds me subconsciously in her sleep : when I scoot, she scoots, when I move, she moves, finding me and pressing her tiny little bony body against mine. She can feel our loss, maybe even smell it, and has decided that Arnaud and I need more than her customary turn-down service this week; she has decided that we need to be watched over carefully throughout the long nights, at least for the moment.
When I am feeling sad I inevitably go towards the music of my youth. I think this says good things about my youth. Or maybe sad things. Unfortunately for the people in my world this music includes DC talk, Jars of Clay, Michael W Smith... you get the jist. I beat Arnaud home from work the other day and I was prepping dinner while listening to Love Song for a Savior. Singing every word, knowing every note in my bones. Loving it. When Arnaud came into the kitchen I told him, "this song is about Jesus." He got a big smile on his face and tickled me, "OOhhhhhhh! JESUS! Do you miss Jesus a little bit? Do you? Just a little bit? YES you do, YOU MISS JESUS A LITTLE BIT, POOKIE!" He spoke to me not unlike we speak to Lilou on the floor, and I giggled and denied like a flirtatious school girl. He gets me.
He gets me because he knows that I miss Jesus in the same way I miss being seven years old : with a distant fondness, a day long ago that I loved but that has now passed. I do not want to be seven again, I do not wish to relive my life. I am here, now, in these current days, and as hope leaks from my body it is not Jesus that brings me comfort, it is the Hitler joke, the little bony dog, the light refracted a thousand times against the cracks of my 36 years. The songs I used to sing for Jesus I now sing because I have a voice. And sometimes it feels the same.
I have often told Arnaud that the only reason I would ever leave him is if he became religious. He always responds that the only reason he would leave me is if I became a man. This agreement seems reasonable to us, at this point at least. But if by some strange alignment of the stars we become a trans, religious couple, I have the perfect playlist.