Saturday, March 20, 2010

Raleigh in the Knee Space

My friends ask, every time they see me, “How’s Raleigh?”

The seventy-five pounds of him is curled like a pretzel in the knee space under my desk. He barely fits, it’s a narrow space. The carpenter miscalculated when he built the cabinets. It's a compact space, the size you would expect in coach class if airplanes had desks instead of seats.

“No, no, miss. I’ll take the cabinet back. I can make it wider, increase the space for you,” The carpenter said, rolling the words over his Irish tongue. “It doesn’t matter,” I told him, all those years ago, “I fit just fine.” I am not a large person. I like the miniature space; it feels personalized, built to suit.

I roll my chair up to the desk. Raleigh lifts his head. I burrow my feet into whatever space they can find. Ahhh, the burrowing, his fur is amazingly soft. My right foot ends up in the center of the semi-circle of his body. He waits until I am settled then he rests his chin gently on top of my foot. Every time he exhales warm puppy breath whooshes between my toes.

Feeling Raleigh on my feet is like looking at a sleeping baby. My heart fills with such fondness I never want to move. I don’t care about the cramp in my calf or that I can’t reach my computer. Puppy love causes me to abandon my writing for a little while. I just want to sit, here, love condensed in a moment.

“Raleigh is fine,” I say.

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