Wednesday, June 20, 2012
She coughed all night, a deep throated cough that came not from sickness but from something stuck in the back of her throat, she could feel it there small and embedded. Not sharp like a popcorn shard, or dull and swollen like lymphoma, but a light nonexistent barely there thing, a dog hair.
She must have swallowed it while trying to sleep on that guy's bed, unsuccessfully because he hadn't been in a cuddling mood that night, and she could see his dog staring at her from it's place in the far corner of the room, the dog's eyes bright reflective in the smattering of streetlight from the window. Which wasn't scary, she liked the dog. But now she wondered if the dog liked her. Perhaps it had been planning this, and had spent all day rolling around the bed just to make sure there was hair everywhere there could be hair.
She had spent years sleeping with animals, covered in their sheddings and spit. There were probably cat parasites in her brain from all the exposure to "love". She had felt bad that night when the coughing started, and she had apologized to him blaming the dog hair, and had forgotten to then apologize for implying it was bad that there was dog hair all over his bed, like she minded, when in fact she had not minded but now maybe in retrospect she should have been the kind of girl who had a problem with that? A cleaner girl? One who wore "outfits".
The coughing would not stop. At one point she threw up in her mouth, and had to run to the bathroom to spit. She accidentally spit up in the sink instead of the toilet, and then had to spend fifteen minutes pushing chunks of half digested french toast from the late night diner down the drain. She had been feeling badly about a crush she had on a boy all day, but now, at 2am standing naked in her bathroom, prodding at sick with her finger and coughing coughing, she realized that for the next 6 months, there was no point in her worrying about boys at all. There was no room for being concerned about other people's behaviors. It was a conclusion that had nothing to do with the coughing, but sometimes the most honest thoughts we can have happen at our most humiliating moments, and we have to take them as they come, even if seemingly random.
The dog hair was still there, even after she said fuck it and made herself empty the entirety of her stomach contents into the toilet, because she didn't want to have to do this all over later that morning. She wondered why the stomach acid hadn't loosened the hair's hold on the back of her tonsils. Upset, she crawled back into bed naked, and lay there on top of the covers letting the fan blow over and dry the unconsciously streaming tears on her face, and the melting mascara clumps. She was exhausted. She tried to slow her breathing and heart rate, tried to lull her lungs into a sense of security. Just as she was finally falling asleep, her throat finally calmed by sheer numbness, she felt the dog hair slip down her esophagus....
The hair was short and yellow. It dissolved, broke apart into the tiniest little shreds, cellular pieces. Each little chunk of DNA was Echiverry, the dog, with large round wet eyes and toy legs. Each little Echiverry jumped like a little blond muzzled calf into her bloodstream and disappeared around the corners of veins and capillaries, until they were all gone except the last one who looked around and then contently settled on the artery floor and start gnawing on it.
All through out the vast maze of her body, the little dogs chewed and pulled and scratched and dug and buried and jumped. The white cells of her body gathered panicked in their conference rooms to plan offenses and defenses, but there was no time, no pause to get ready for a great attack.
In the morning she woke up and knew two things in rapid succession, first that she was a dog, and second, she was going to run away. Her third thought was a wasteful moment to wonder if every domesticated dog in the world woke up to those same two thoughts, every morning of their lives.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 12:24 PM