Buddy’s cold wet nose nuzzled my face at four thirty. His bladder was dependable and insistent. I burrowed beneath the covers. Buddy thought we were playing tug of war and pulled the covers off the bed. I sat so he wouldn’t whimper.
I groaned and threw my feet over the edge. The floor was freezing, and I saw the faint fog of my breath. I grabbed the sweatpants and shirt I wore yesterday and pulled them on while Buddy cavorted around the room. Fumbling under the bed I found my hiking boots and pushed my bare feet in and laced them.
“Ok, Buddy. We’re going. Can you wait for me to get coffee?”
Buddy cocked his golden head, and I took it as a yes. The pot held yesterday’s coffee, enough to warm a cup in the microwave. I retrieved my parka and Buddy ran from the room, returning with one end of his leash in his mouth and dragging the rest. I snagged the leash’s trailing end, and we headed for the door. Outside the wind reached my lungs and squeezed. I inhaled the steam rising from the coffee cup before taking a sip. The coffee was warm, not hot, and I downed the rest in a single gulp. Impatient, Buddy dropped the leash and ran. I set the drained cup on the wooden railing and followed him.
The morning’s low tide left a wide swath of hard frosty sand with plenty of smells for Buddy to investigate. We reached the pilings which were the last remnants of the pier. A storm pulled it into the sea two years ago. I let the pier go. I let everything go after the incident. People offered platitudes, promising help, but secretly they hoped I wouldn’t ask. They weren’t uncaring. They didn’t know how to help.
The wind whipped my parka. I didn’t fight. Instead, I faced the wind. Little reminded me I was alive, the wind, and Buddy would have to be enough today.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer