Today the new dog woke me before 7am. At first I was not sure what day it was. Sunday, or Monday. For a moment I was caught between sleep and the new day and wondering if I was late for work. While the feeling of being late for work is not a pleasant one, it was still somehow bittersweet because at long last after ten months of unemployment, I finally had a job to go to.
I have a job. I am employed full time.
The road from having a job to not having a job is a terrifying one. It is a dark uncertainty, a dismantling of everything you thought certain: humbling and dreadful.
About a year ago I was laid off from my former job. What I did not know at the time was that the job loss would be the start of a series of sudden endings that would drop like dominoes across my path and leave me to struggling to move forward, sideways, any which way just to get out of the way as ties to the familiar and safe in my small life severed tendon by tendon.
After losing my job I moved out of my home. A year later most of my belongings collect dust in a self-storage facility. Even my trusted coffee maker short-circuited. Then my old dog died. Then my sturdy vehicle had a series of breakdowns; flat tires and worn out front brakes. I kept thinking, if I can just get through this, every thing will be okay. If I can just get new tires, charge the $800 on a credit card, I will figure out a way to pay for it later on. I began mortgaging all that remained against an unknown future.
“Do you want your dog to be cremated, would you like to have his ashes?” The vet tech asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“There are two different cremation services,” she offered. “With the less expensive option, you receive an urn but he is cremated with other pets.”
“What if I want just his ashes?”
“That’s a bit more expensive.”
“About $1,000. We do have a financing option.”
Another $1,000 charged to a newly opened credit card account. How could I do it any other way? My old dog was my best friend for ten years. I had spent more time with him than any human including family, friends, co-workers. He and I were comrades. My heart was broken. My soul defeated. I didn’t have much left to give, but I was certain he was not going to be tossed into a crematorium atop a heap of other animals. He barely tolerated other dogs, not to mention cats. I didn’t have much, but I still had an excellent credit score.