She awoke with a start, unsure whether she had heard something or jerked in her sleep. It was still daytime, and she was alone. He hadn’t returned from wherever he went most days, so for now she just waited for something to happen.
She had been dreaming of a place he had taken her once, where she had been allowed to explore a beautiful garden full of wonders. She remembered the pungent mix of aromas, amazingly complex and invigorating, earth and flowers, and something else on the wind she couldn’t identify. Insects had buzzed around her in the sunlight, so wonderful and warm.
But now she was here, laying upon the cold floor in her usual place. She didn’t know when he would return. Time had little meaning for her, and the days stretched on for an eternity as she waited alone.
She wondered idly about his bed. She would have preferred its soft warmth to the hard floor, so cold against her body, but she was only allowed there when he invited her, and he seemed to know when she had lain there without him. That had not gone well before. She remembered his rage and the sting of his hand on her face. No, she would remain on the floor until he invited her to his bed.
Perhaps he might do so tonight, she thought with a surge of excitement. She had come to know his rythms and rituals. Some days when he came, if he moved slowly and didn’t turn on the lights in the big room, he would go straight to his bed after dinner and she would sit on the ground in the hallway outside his room waiting for the slightest, barely perceptible gesture of invitation. When it came, she’d join him in an instant, joyful for his touch as he caressed her back and dug his fingers into the hair on her head.
Those moments were her bliss. She waited through the long, cold days, longing for these morsels of attention and touch.
She hasn’t always been alone. When he’d first brought her to this place, she was still very young and there was another older one here. The other had resented her presence, so long had she been the sole object of his affection, and for the most part all attempts to engage with her had been ignored. They had settled into a luke-warm acceptance of each-other, thankful for a nearby warm body to fend off the cold during the long days, but otherwise jealous of each-other’s share of his affection.
The other had been gone a long time now. There remained some signs of her around the place, and until recently she’d slept upon the old blanket they’d shared, on which the other’s scent had been still barely perceptible. But he’d taken that away for some reason, she didn’t know what.
She noticed the angle of light through the side windows had changed, and the sky had cleared sufficiently for the sun’s feable warmth to penetrate. With excitement she rose and padded quietly across the wooden floor to his study, knowing there was now a chance she could arrange her body just so to receive that warmth which would now be bathing a small section of floor near the window.
She was in luck. She arranged herself under the shaft of sunlight and lay contentedly, drifting off to sleep again as she awaited his return.
A car. The sound reached into her dream and plucked her from a fantasy of running through a field. She dared not breathe as she listened intently – was it him? No, the sound wasn’t right. She relaxed as the sound receded into the distance, destined for some other place. She noticed the sunlight had faded and moved away from her spot on the floor. He would be here soon. When the sun no longer reached through the windows it was nearly time.
Her stomach growled at the thought of the impending meal. It wouldn’t be much, and it would be bland, but she would greedily devour what he placed in front of her, only once he indicated she was permitted to do so of course. She was required to sit, her bare backside on the cold kitchen tiles, until he nodded. As usual she would perform her role enthusiastically, as he seemed to like it when she threw herself into the ritual, and that increased the chances he would give her some affection. Maybe some of the exquisite delicacies, sometimes even from his plate, but he told her “I prefer you lean”, whatever that meant, so these treats were few and far between.
His arrival likely imminent, she rose again and headed back to the big room to arrange herself as he liked to see her when he came in, waiting dutifully on the floor near the fireplace. If he didn’t go straight to bed after dinner, he might set a fire and she would be in prime position to receive its gift. This wasn’t as wonderful as sharing his bed, but it was more likely.
She’d only just arranged herself when bright light speared the windows and illuminated the room. His engine died, and she heard his door slam, her heart racing with excitement and fear. Which face would he wear? The gravel crunched as he approached the doorway and she fought to control her bladder in the excitement. The lock turned and he appeared through the door. She knew in an instant. This would be a good night.
“Hi gorgeous girl” he said, and she rose and wagged her tail with all the love and joy she felt in her heart.