Foreshadowing

fore-shad-ow: verb: When an author of a plot uses an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future.

A few years back, there was a song that was super popular. It was played over and over and over again on the radio. At first, I really liked it a lot. After hearing it about 50 million times a day on every radio station, in every public place, and posted on people’s social media sites via youtube videos, my opinions about that song changed drastically. It was a song by the artist Goyte called “Somebody That I Used To Know”. You probably remember it. It was super catchy and once you heard it, it had you singing “somebody” in a high pitch voice for the rest of the day.

The summer that it became an overplayed hit, I was working in a restaurant at the beach. My x-fiance was also working there, but this was before we had even started our story. There had only been those moments when the attraction was super obvious, like when you catch each other looking at each other from across the restaurant and your stomach does that little flip thing and you can’t stop smiling because you can feel that amazing butterfly feeling you get in the beginning. We had only had a few conversations, mostly about work stuff and any excuse we could use to talk to each other. We had hung posters up for the grand opening on the street with fishing line out of the bed of his Toyota pick up truck together; I don’t remember the small talk in-between us but I remember the feeling of just being completely attracted to him. I have small tattoos on my hands below my thumbs, about the size of dimes, on the left is a world and on the right is a peace sign. [Please do not judge me for the fact I did get ‘world peace’ tattooed on me, I was young and in my hippy movement stage of life]. Nick came up to me as I was leaning across a high top table one shift and touched the tattoo on my left hand and asked me if it was a tattoo of a deadhead. [If you don’t know what a deadhead is..open a new tab, google it, and download some of their music onto your itunes OK?] I remember the feeling of butterflies from his first physical contact with me mixed with embarrassment as I explained that the hard-to-recognize, blown-out tattoo was of a world and not a deadhead, followed by the explanation of the whole “world peace” thing and being young and dumb when I got it. We both had a pretty good laugh about it. Another time, the restaurant had run out of aprons and Nick had never gotten one. I remember telling him I’d bring him one the next time we worked together. This immediately lead to us comparing our schedules and seeing what shifts we were scheduled together for the rest of the week. I think both of us had probably already checked each other’s schedule on the one hanging on the wall of the server station to see what days we both needed to make sure we were a little bit early and, at least for me because I’m a chick, what days I needed to spend a little extra time on my hair. These had pretty much been all the first interactions that we had had, back when it was new and exciting and developing.

On a different shift, a group of co-workers and I were standing around- probably waiting for tables to come in. The restaurant, although it was new, was never really busy, and we didn’t know it then, but would be closing down in about 2 or 3 more months. I don’t really remember everyone else who was present in the group, but I remember that Nick was there. The song by Goyte came on over our sound system and we all started singing the lyrics that were impossible not to know at this point. Nick looked at me and said he had never heard this song before. I was shocked. I don’t remember exactly the conversation that followed between us, but I remember some back and forth about how that could be possible. At the end of it all, I remember he said something along the lines of how he obviously knew it because it was overplayed everywhere. We laughed. I knew I loved him, right then and there.

The song became a joke throughout our growing relationship. It was on mixed CDs and sang between the two of us. It was never skipped on the radio; it had reached it’s peak so it went from being played all the time, to never, then a couple months later they threw it back into the rotation here and there.

I guess I never realized that the song would become a foreshadowing of our story. That God- or the universe or whatever your beliefs are- used it to bring us together and, as the author of my story, would use it as a hint to our future. It was the catalyst of the moment I first realized I loved him. But it was also a clear, lyrical prediction of our ending. We used to listen to it together, it was an on-going joke, built right into the foundation of us. And now?.. He has become somebody that I used to know.

“But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know..”

Dammit I hate that fucking song.

Life Lessons Taught by Two Dogs

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I have two dogs. As weird as it might sound, at some point in time, they became my best friends. They teach me things everyday and continue to amaze me with their understanding of my moods and needs. I don’t mean to sound like one of those crazy dog fanatics that tells you their dog’s thoughts, or their favorite toy, or their favorite treat, but I guess I am. At some point I became that lady who leaves the radio on for them when I leave, who grills them their own bones because all the ones at the store are unnatural and filled with preservatives, and who feels guilty if I don’t take them to the beach for an entire day once a week. I even celebrate their birthdays with them; which means they get a cake and ice cream [made gluten/dairy free and puppy approved], a trip to the pet store where they can pick anything out, and usually an extra long day at the beach followed by walking their favorite trails along the river.

Bear is the baby of the two, he just celebrated his 2nd birthday in March. He is a black lab and lives up to the typical lab traits that anyone who has ever had one can attest to- Bear loves two things: food and people, in that order. When Bear was picked out, his dad told me the story of how he selected him. Bear was born on a farm, where his litter lived in the barn. When his dad went to pick out the puppy he wanted, the other young puppies were out wandering around close to the people selling them. They had this big bowl and began to pour some puppy chow into it. The puppies gathered around the silver food bowl and began eating. That’s when Bear apparently came sprinting as fast as he could in his clumsy, uncoordinated puppy gallop from the barn; no doubt because he had already learned to associate the familiar ting-tinging sound of the kernels hitting the metal bowl as meal time. Once he got to the bowl, he pushed all his brothers and sisters out of the way and started feasting on the puppy chow from inside the middle of it. That’s the reason his dad picked him out of the litter. I shortly thereafter entered Bear’s life when he was about a month and a half old, and can tell you that in these past two years his personality has not changed. He is a very entitled dog; he believes he deserves everything that you have, especially food, and will head butt you, whine, or even bark at you until you share it. To say it in the most loving way possible, he’s kind of an asshole. He wants what he wants when he wants it, or he tends to whine and cry and get upset with me when I don’t allow him to partake in something. The other day I was eating a chocolate brownie [the healthy kind of course] and he began gently nudging my leg with his nose. As the remaining piece of brownie grew smaller and smaller, Bear knew his odds were growing less and less, so he began to whine and nudge harder. Now I’ve known him since he was a puppy and he is pretty much the most handsome dog in the entire history of any dog that has ever lived, so it breaks my heart not to give him a piece. I know that the brownie isn’t good for him and I don’t want him to get sick. As I finish it, he goes and lays down with a huge sigh, pouting, and ignoring me. “Bear, that would’ve made you sick and hurt you buddy,” I say to him, a reasoning that he wants nothing to do with, and he continues to whine under his breath. That’s when I learned a super important thing about life- from a dog. Maybe we want stuff that will hurt us, but we don’t know that it will hurt us and we still want it. Maybe God or the Universe or whatever your beliefs are, keeps it from us and doesn’t give it to us because they know that it will hurt us and cause us pain. Maybe we get all sad and pout when we don’t get who or what we want because we don’t understand that it’s in our best interest, that someone or something is really looking out for us by keeping them or it from us.

Reef is the dog I had first and she will be 6 years old on July 2nd. I’ve had her since she was 6 weeks old. What amazes me about Reef is how much she still loves me. I’m now 26 and I’d honestly say a somewhat put together and responsible person: I have a clean house, I rarely go out to all hours of the night, I go to the gym almost daily and feel that they deserve the same luxury of exercising often, and I do not remember the last time that I ran out of dog food without having another unopened bag in the pantry as back up. Well, 20 year old Camren was a completely different story. There were times Reef was definitely inside for 15 plus hours. There were multiple days where she ate what I ate- which sounds great except it was probably pizza or Ramon noodles or something along those lines of a broke college student’s budget. There were weeks that I didn’t walk her besides a quick bathroom run around the block. I know that almost every single set of parents out there tells their college kid not to get a dog [and parents don’t get too excited if any of you are reading this], but they are 100% right. Reef was shorted the first 3 years of her life waiting on me to grow up. Do you know what is mind blowing and amazing to me though? Reef never held a grudge. Reef was never mad at me. Reef never became bitter. Reef never acted like she forgave me and then in a fight a month later brought up the fact that I forgot to come home after work and in-between the bars to walk her or some other action she felt scorned over. She never remained angry at me although smiling and talking about how great everything was going to be only then to do some vengeful, hurtful stuff to get me back. I mean maybe she chewed up a few pairs of shoes or sunglasses when she felt she wasn’t getting attention, but that’s about it. Most importantly, Reef never left. She never even thought about leaving. She understood without questioning, she knew she loved me and she knew deep down embedded into the grains of her soul what that meant: that she was to stand by me through the good and the bad and to love me, no matter if in that moment I did or didn’t deserve it. Some people say that dogs are like their owners and they pick up certain traits from us. I believe that this is true, but sometimes I also think that the owners learn from their pets. I may have used to be selfish, hold grudges, never really understood what it meant to truly forgive someone, and been vengeful; but I can honestly say that because of Reef I am different. She taught me how to love even if the person doesn’t necessarily deserve it; she taught me how to forgive without ever being asked for forgiveness; she taught me that you never leave someone; and she taught me how to put myself second, to understand that my purpose here isn’t to make myself happy, but to live to make someone else happy.

Now, let me just reiterate that having a dog is great, having two dogs is a handful. It makes moving a pain because I’m a renter. They are expensive. I have to put their needs before mine. Both of my dogs were the bi-products of failed long term relationships. The first one, where Reef came into the picture, the boyfriend’s name was Nick. The second one, where Bear came from, the fiance’s name was also Nick. I used to have a lot of hope about maybe one day writing the x-fiance Nick back into the story, but Bear recently taught me the lesson which made me realize that probably won’t happen. I’m still on my way to accepting that and I’m okay with that. Reef and Bear will continue to teach me things about love, friendship, loyalty, and life which will hopefully eventually help me heal that wound and understand why I deserve better. In the meantime, ladies I do have some solid advice for you: do not buy puppies with guys named Nick.

Listening

I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life in three words: it goes on. [Robert Frost]

Every morning, I wake up and I listen.  I don’t get out of bed, I just listen. I can hear all kinds of things.  there’s the chirping of many different birds, not a single one I can name. depending on the day, sometimes there are less birds singing and the chorus is replaced with the sound of rain cascading down from the sky onto my roof and hitting the bottom of the overturned canoe in my back yard.  I can hear my next door neighbor’s baby begin screaming as she awakes.  I can hear the muffled snores of my roommate in his room across the house.  depending on the day of the week, I can hear the trash and recycling trucks making their early morning rounds.  I can hear my neighbors opening and closing their car doors as they head to work.  I live in an area where it seems like everyone has a truck, they all seem to be diesel, and I listen to the familiar sound of their trucks idling before they pull away.  I still just listen.  I can usually hear the murmured sound of one of my dogs twitching her paws and quietly barking while she has a dream; I love that she dreams. I can barely hear the alert on my cell phone from the other room, letting me know I’ve received an email.  I’m never in a hurry to check it though because the emails are never from the sender I’m hoping they are.  I always hear the first morning yawn of my other dog as he senses my consciousness; his jaw always pops during it for some reason.  it’s a trait that he picked up from his human dad. I’m not saying that jaw popping during yawns is something I truly believe to be a cross-species learned action, but I am saying dogs resemble their owners and they both do it.  I can hear my A/C unit come to life outside and then eventually hear the cool air start to force out of the ceiling vents in the house.  I hear lots of things every morning, but I never really hear the sound that I’m listening for.  the one diesel engine that would make both my dogs jump off the bed and run to the front door, usually before I had even detected it.  I smile a little as I remember the way it sounded: old, but reliable  like it had been working hard for years, but it still had plenty left.  it was a real work truck, unlike some of the other diesels I normally hear in the neighborhood.  Although it might not have been as new-it was covered with dings and dents which all had different stories behind them- it was my favorite. so every morning, I just listen. hoping one day the familiarity and serenity will be broken with the sound of that ram 3500 diesel idling to a stop in the driveway, with that little squeal that only it has as it turns off.  I still haven’t heard it and that’s okay because I have learned that life does go on, but that doesn’t mean that it hurts to still listen.