mardi 10 novembre 2009

Mots d'amour

By candlelight

That's a love note, written on a pharmaceutical laboratory marketing Post-it note. Or that's how I chose to take it, anyway. It has remained stuck to the center of the table, between where he and I sit for meals, since just after Halloween, when I came down one morning to see a piece of paper not where I had left one when I went upstairs the night before. There are usually pieces of paper trailing everywhere, but I noticed this one. I notice most things, even in the disorder. It's just that I don't find many things. That's not the same.

It was addressed to me, by my first name rather than "ma chérie". It must, I thought, be somewhat important. Even after 20 years of reading his handwriting, I still have to read at least twice to make sure I have gotten the topic and the full meaning of his words. It appeared to have to do with the dogs; it was somewhat indirect. It said:
Une des chiennes a laissé un souvenir ds [abbreviation for "dans"] le petit salon (pacquet & moquette).

There was also a little heart up in the corner. That's nice, I thought. He thought to add a heart. But, why would one of the the dogs leave a package in the "little parlor" (fancy name for a never finished room adjacent to the salon, scheduled for a tear-down and renovation)? How would they even know how to make a package, and why would one of them leave me carpeting? Was this my husband's way of shyly leaving me a present? If so, why, then, the carpeting? And, there isn't a "c" in paquet.

Why, come to think of it, would he leave it in the "petit salon" and not just leave it on the table, in place of the note?

I turned to start the coffee machine, when it came to me. Read it again, I thought. You missed something. An awful idea was starting to formulate in my foggy morning head, as a word association started all by itself, suggesting an unpleasant possibility: "chienne", "souvenir", not "pacquet" at all, but "parquet", which was made obvious by the presence of the word "moquette". I headed to the "petit salon", Quaker Oats box in hand, to verify my hunch. There was a very small blob of dark dog doo and a very large pile on the very old carpeting Audouin never tore out when he started to build the storage system, laying the parquet only up to the outside edge.

I went for paper towel -- two sheets -- and a plastic vegetable bag from the supermarket, passing Baccarat along the way to the kitchen. I looked at her. She looked back at me, balefully, of course. She knew where I'd been, and what I'd seen. It was too late to say much. The last time I tried to get her to come to my call to witness her "mistake" with me, I ended up having to drag her, and we both regretted our actions very, very much. I looked at the note again. Of course it really said:
Une des chiennes a laissé un souvenir ds le petit salon (parquet & moquette).

You can understand the mistake. After all, souvenirs are nice things that might actually come in packages.

It was, mercifully for her, bad Black Lab, full of something that looked like cranberries. Where on earth, I thought, did she ever find cranberries? Anything at all is possible until you have had your oatmeal and coffee. I peered a little closer. It didn't smell that badly, which raised another question: how long had it been there? Never mind. Upon closer, much closer, inspection, I recognized the telltale color of the yew berries, falling over Chez Eugénie G.

At least, I thought, she has an excuse. They made her have to go when she least expected it, and couldn't hold it, although it wasn't all that runny, which while much harder and more disgusting to clean up, especially from that old carpeting that continues under the floorboards (she's done this before; don't ask), elicits much greater sympathy from me.

Baccarat. Bad dog.

"Darling, there's a vast pile of dog doo in the office. I leave it lovingly for you to clean up. Have a nice day."

To shame my husband, I have left it on the table for nearly 2 weeks, holding on to the only love note I have had from him since -- Wait. Let me think.

You take what you can get in love.

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