Prompt: Joy–Take us back to a moment this year when you experienced pure, unadulterated joy. (I found myself extending the moment.)
I’m in the second bedroom that serves as our library, costume closet and projects repository. My laptop, stand and scarred old grey leather chair are set up next to the single window. From where I sit typing, I can look to my right and see the sky.
I’ve been thinking all day about what to write. Joy. Why is it so much harder to focus on than something negative? The words overflow when I think of something that irritated me or something that hurt. I get the full sensory palate there whether I want it or not. Happiness must just come in a different form, transitive, elusive, losing some of its essence when you try to comprehend it with earthly words.
Offerings did make their appearance. Love. Hope. A wish come true. An unexpected windfall. Relief after a long wait. Release from a pressing worry. Something sacred, hallowed or time-honored. I could pick one of those, but today none of them seemed quite right.
What kept coming to mind instead was my guinea pig.
Reggie’s home is this second bedroom. His life is bounded by the four walls of his cage. It’s a generous cage, filled with hidey-holes and toys, but it’s still his sole possession. He’s dependent on us for food, water and bedding. He’s dependent on us to bring him out on the floor so he can exercise his little legs and tubby body, and guard him from those tasty electrical cords and tastier plastic bags.
He’s subject to our sense of decency, of humanity, of not being abusive degenerates who think having another being’s life in their care is something to destroy.
He’s dependent on our love. And he gives us his love right back, unconditionally.
When I was unemployed, the pig room was my office. Where before my routine was leaving early in the morning and coming home in the evening, now I was part of Reggie’s routine. I sat here with my laptop doing my job search job while he finished his breakfast, puttered around his cage, took a nap, got up, ate his second breakfast, so forth and so on.
We got along so well, me’n’the pig. He knew I was somehow not-gone during the day anymore, and he accepted me like I’d always been there.
Anyone who’s been on the job search circuit or worked on a months-long project knows how wearing it can get. The days seem endless, anything you produce seems to be biting its own tail, and hope is something you heard of once but don’t remember the plot.
But somehow just looking up from my screen and seeing my little guy snoozing in the sun or eating hay in my direction helped keep me going. Getting up and walking the few steps over to admire the latest toothy decoration on his empty Kleenex box or new arrangements of his cardboard tunnels (he had his own jobs too) reinvigorated me to get through the day.
He brought me such comfort–and kept me to my routine as well as his. There was no taking a long break and playing on the floor during the day, no. The evening was when he wanted to come out, after the laptop was closed and dinner was eaten. Then it was playtime, time to run races with himself, jump-and-twist in midair, talk to himself in that burbling guinea-pig way and explore adjacent rooms, one foot hanging back in case he needed to double back in a hurry. There’s such a lot of personality wrapped up in those little critters.
Eventually, I went back to work. I knew then that I’d miss this time. I knew that I’d look back and cherish those hours and days as much as I cherished them when they were happening, because with beloved pets you always know there’s an end date.
One day he won’t be there. But right now all I have to do is look over the edge of my monitor and see him. And that gives me joy.
6 thoughts on “#Reverb11 Day 8: Joy”
I am not much of an animal person. I respect them, and get along pretty good with most pets that come in and out of my family. I am saddened when pets die. Yet I have not yet, or at least rarely, approached the whole level of personal attachment and “pet voice” that others in my family can attain. I know how to, but never quite find the motivation to do so.
Yet I still understand the important bond between animals and their masters. And though I myself have never proven to be a particularly gushy animal owner/master, I am always relieved when I know that animals are in the hands of someone, like yourself, (and like my sister, whose animals I just babysat for the last week), who are forever cognizant of the love they deserve.
I think this was a good answer to the prompt.
Thank you, Ty.
Goodness, am I gushy? I probably am. In pet stores when I’m getting supplies, I always stop by the guinea pig cages and talk to them…by talk I mean “squeak at”…and before too long everyone’s awake and squeaking back at me and getting all excited. If I could only take them all home!
One thing I’ve learned is all big things are made up of little things, and Reggie is an essential part of what makes me _me_–and his personality is bigger than he is!
First, I adore this paragraph: “Offerings did make their appearance. Love. Hope. A wish come true. An unexpected windfall. Relief after a long wait. Release from a pressing worry. Something sacred, hallowed or time-honored.”
Second, it never ceases to amaze me the little things — a guinea pig, in this case — that can be such huge vessels of hope. You nailed that sentiment, which is so perfect for this time of year. 🙂
Thank you so much! (And the guinea pig thanks you too.)
I did have fun molding that particular paragraph. Much love for the comment, as always. 🙂
Oh, I just love this… I guess I never really thought about it, but it is joy. I get this same type of feeling whenever I look over at my dog, (currently snuggled in a blanket, half under my arm) and appreciate her playfulness, her funny quirks, the love she seems to exude with the butt-wiggling tail wag when I get home….
Yes, I’m one of those gushy pet owners haha.
Exactly! Animals have that gift of making time seem to stop when you stop what you’re doing and just focus on them, without even being away you’re focusing on them. They get up to the craziest things…
Gushy pet owners unite. Thanks for commenting!