Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Random thing:

First, I'm hesitant about writing too much about this, because the emotions are still raw and upsetting for the victims, and I care about them too much to want to risk causing them more pain. But I'm also a compulsive over-sharer with a weak will, and while I'm determined to exercise restraint (something I seldom exercise--my restraint muscle is atrophied to the point that a two year old is more restrained than I am), there are some things I simply must write down.

Can't help myself.

So. A little background. Not sure how Greg met John but he met him not long after we moved from the Upper West Side to Inwood, a rather traumatic move for me because I loved being in our old neighborhood and was very unhappy over moving so far uptown. If the move from AL to the UWS of Manhattan was like going to a new state (literally!), the move from the UWS to Inwood seemed like moving to a foreign country. My relationship with Greg was showing the strain and we were fighting a good deal.

Greg, being a gamer, did what gamers do: he searched the neighborhood for fellow gamers, found John, and joined a weekly gaming group hosted in John's near-by apartment. Tensions between Greg and me eased a bit since Greg now had Something to Do once a week, and friends to do it with.

Right. So.

After his first night at the game, Greg returned, excited. He told me about the new people he'd met, the events of the game, described John's apartment ("And his girlfriend, Kristen, just lets him host these things," he said with a bit of reproach since I usually vetoed any attempt he might make at hosting his own gaming events), then capped off his story with this: "They have the most adorable mini-Dachshund named Murphy! He spent the entire night up in my face."

Which didn't sound terribly appealing to me but G was glowing so I knew it'd been a nice experience for him.

When we got Waffles, one of the first things we did was call John and Kristen, arrange a play-date, and rushed across to Isham Park to introduce Waf to Murphy. The dynamic between the two dogs was immediately evident: Murphy, three years older than Waf, hated Waf because our dog was too bouncy, too erratic, too nose-up-the-butt; Waf loved Murph, wanted Murph's approval and attention. Also, he wanted Murph's toys and snacks.

For the past year and a half, Waf and Murph spent a lot of time together. Greg would meet up with John for walks in the park, leisurely strolls around the neighborhood, or else take Waf to the apartment to hang and play games and watch movies. And on my walks with Waf, he and I would encounter John and Kristen and Murphy, and spend time chatting while Waf tormented grumpy Murph.

It was cute. Waf would freak out whenever he saw Murph. His tail would have epileptic seizures, his feet would do that Jennifer Beals Flashdance running in place thing (sans leg-warmers) and he'd whine excitedly. Murph would cower behind Kristen or John, preparing for the Luftewaffles bombardment.

The day of the fire. It happened around 7:30AM. Greg and I were totally unaware of the tragedy occurring a few blocks away--I don't even think we heard the sirens. We were both in bed, preparing for the shock of our alarm clock to force us out of bed and start the day. Neither of us were asleep, but we weren't quite awake either.

Waffles was at my calf-level, also not quite asleep, not quite awake.

A quick note here about my belief in the paranormal and the psychic, and the note is I'm not a believer. Certainly there are things we can't readily explain. Certainly it'd be hubris to say we know all there is to know, or can discover all there is to learn. I don't go for this sort of thing, usually, but as Greg and I lay in bed, in the thin state between sleep and wakefulness, just as the fire was wounding the lives of our friends not far away, a strange thing happened.

Waffles began whining.

Waffles is a pretty quiet dog most of the time. He barks at strange noises, but he seldom makes a sound when routine is involved. Sleeping in bed with us is routine for him, even if it's half-assed sleep. And both G and I were awake enough to be aware of him--we weren't rolling over onto his tail, say, or twitching in our sleep and kicking him in the head. Both of us were inert, breathing lightly, eyes partly opened and staring at the clock anticipating the dreadful screeching of the alarm.

Once a dog attacked Waf. Bit his neck, drew blood. Even then, he didn't whine with as much insistence, such sharp fear as he whined last Thursday morning. His whining scared both Greg and me. We sat up immediately and reached down to where he was buried beneath the comforter. Greg checked him over. Both of us looked for wounds. We pressed his stomach, thinking perhaps he'd swallowed something obstructing his tract, we inspected his paws for splinters. Nothing.

Waffles whined. A deep, sorrowful sound from deep in his throat.

Again, not one of 'those' people. But. Yup. There's no denying that it happened at the same time Murphy was going thru his terrible, final ordeal, and there's no denying that dogs share special bonds humans are just beginning to understand. If Waf were the type of dog to vocalize constantly, I'd write it off as coincidence, but he simply isn't a vocal dog.

Greg, btw, was stunned that I suggested to him Waf sensed Murphy's experience. When I mentioned it to him that night--not long after learning the horrible story--Greg said, "Wow. That doesn't sound like you at all." And it doesn't. But there it is.

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