The lack of sleep has gotten to me, it seeps into my mind, it begs for silence. I am tired. I can no longer hold a conversation without losing track of the topic. I would rather not look people in the eyes when I walk past them, at least not until I get some rest.
I walk past a body of loud, confident voices, and some waving hands, “Yo!” someone yells. I do not return the gesture. Instead, my head is kept down as I walk past a few more people I would otherwise greet. Today is not the day, and I’m sure everyone notices. You’d have to be blind not to see, and bold to reach for my attention.
Despite my anti-social mood this morning, there is someone I often exclude, someone safe from the barriers of my being. Her eyes latch onto mine the moment I swing the door open, they’re already big but somehow expand even larger when she sees me. Like a portal to her soul, her eyes are like two separate oceans that plot no harm against me. A gentle tide that overwhelms my spirit.
We exchange no words, but here, I’ve said more to her with my eyes than I have with anyone else today. I reach into my large pocket and pull out a box of Marlboros’. I don’t do this often, but the lack of sleep warrants –in my mind– a smoke. With a long pull of smoke, my head gently falls back onto the wall behind me, my eyes close and the sun paints my face with a godly stream of light that almost puts me to sleep.
Pat pat pat. A familiar sound. Pat pat pat.
“I was wondering if you were gonna say hi to me,” I say with a smile before opening my eyes. And as soon as they open, I see those two great portals of joy again, she smiles a great big smile through them, her bronze body wagging side to side, her fluffy tail in an odd rhythm.
“Come here, girl,” I whisper, as I press the cherry of the cigarette onto the wall and place it back into its box. “What you doing out here? Don’t feel like being around them too, huh?”
She forces her short muzzle into my palm, asking to be pet, or fed, or maybe this is just her way of responding. Either way, it was good enough for me– whatever that was. Eventually, I settled for hunger and stepped into the small bodega I had been leaning on. I bought a Cuban sandwich and asked for extra meat.
“Hungry?” I ask as split the sandwich in two, “You’re lucky you can’t speak, I would’ve probably eaten this alone.” She chewed twice then swallowed. Perhaps she didn’t chew at all. I imagine her responding something like, “Maybe you’re the lucky one, if it wasn’t for me, you’d probably be eating alone.”
I held out the last piece of meat. “Gotta go, Sandy. I’ll see you in a bit,” I said as I pat her head and rubbed her back, her tail wagging again, side to side. Then I left and returned to work.