Five. I've repeated it to myself, to friends, to Damien. Five. Half way to 10. I suppose if you think about it like that though, I'm more than half way to 50. Five. I lay in bed one night looking at him as he lay motionless by my side. Five years old. That's still only young. Isn't it? I felt my eyes prick. In human years, he's 35. That's older than me. But 35 is the new 25, right?
I didn't feel tearful about him turning 5. Nor about the fact that, comparatively, he's lived more of his life than me, at least by the law of averages. I felt a sudden panic that, at 2 and a half he seemed so young and how quickly our time together has passed. How the moments have flown without my noticing. Yet I wouldn't turn time back. I couldn't. I don't know how I survived the months of destruction and noise and panic. The anxiety associated with opening my own front door to see if my house was still habitable. To see if Caesar was harmed. I gave everything to helping him through his difficulties. He gave everything to learning to trust me. And we've reached a point. A pinnacle at which I never realised that we would find ourselves. We have an understanding, a trust if you like; he won't destroy my house and I will always come back. We have those moments where that balance slips; I stay out too long, he bursts a can of deodorant but it is extremely rare that we return to the destruction that was before.
Caesar now spends a lot of his time on the windowsill, watching the world go by. On walks, he is still a nutter and he does like to bark at anything that moves whether out and about, in the house or in his favourite spying spot.
Caesar used to be one-hundred miles an hour about everything. He would run around from noon until night, skidding, spinning, bumping, barging and generally being a nuisance. Everybody used to complain. He meant no harm, I w
ould tell them, but he did cause it. He broke things, knocked things over, wrapped people up in his lead and was a pain wherever he went.
A few months ago, I stopped one night and looked at Caesar. We were at my parents' house and he was curled up on the floor. When did he start doing that? The following day I took extra notice of his behaviour at home. He was spending a lot of time lying on the window sill, watching. Just watching.
Right now he is doing the same except for he's gotten behind the curtain so that if I hadn't seen him climb up an hour ago then I wouldn't even know he was there. He's laid silent and still with the odd loud exhalation to remind me I'm not alone in the room. I'm unsure what he's waiting for.
Everyone had spent so long willing Caesar to calm down that, when he did, it almost seemed wrong. This calm, placid, quiet dog is not mine. Bring back the one that used to knock me off my feet!
Caesar keeps the wacky, loud, bustly, bumbly and clumsy version of himself locked away in a box. It's the same box that we keep the leads and collars in in fact. So, at least we get to see him when we attempt to go for a walk!!!!
Thanks for reading.