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by E.P. Lee
Mar 18, 2021
AND the DOG BARKS... Chapters #1 - 5
A book, and nothing but the book, will appear on this blog; there won't be any pictures, just type as it appears in the manuscript. The book:
“AND THE DOG BARKS..."
... will appear in installments of five, seven, or more chapters twice a week through to completion. Feel free to leave a comment at any time in the "Leave a comment" section below.
CHAPTERS #1- 5
And the dog barks… Freud’s not a puppy in a marble kennel with a plush bed, and wee-wee pads, howling the night away any longer.
Good thing that, that’s a really good thing.
Now Freud is a three-year-old, fully grown, fully trained, fawn-colored French Bulldog who walks by my side off lead and answers to verbal command. Sometimes Freud answers with great indignity, actually oft-times (but cute that, cute), but Freud answers to command.
Freud always answers, just so slowly sometimes.
But Freud always answers.
And Freud stays un-kenneled in the house now too. Freud un-kenneled and un-howling, both things are good.
Peace in the castle reigns:
“peace in the castle”.
And since there hasn’t been any“peace”in a long, long time,“peace”is good.
“Peace”is very, very good!
We’ve arrived at a destination Freud and I, we’ve arrived; or perhaps we’re just not where we were.
I get confused sometimes.
There was so much insecurity, so much illness, so much death, so much tension, so much angst around me for so long before that I lost sight of the individual details and just stayed confused. It all blurred those details, they all blurred. And it was easier for me that way. I didn’t feel the pain so much. I didn’t feel the loss. I didn’t miss things as much: Mitch, Ziggy, my health, my family, my friends, the business, money.
I just moved on.
And move on I do.
I’m on this new trip today, a new voyage, a new journey, and I have no idea where I’m going. I suppose I never did know before as I travelled, as“before”I just went. But this time it’s different. I consciously took myself here. I worked at this, and worked at this, and worked at this, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and manipulated, and finally I’m here.
And Here is pretty, and safe, and secure, and comfortable, and Freud is happy and Freud howls no longer, and no one has died, and no one is sick; or at least no one is any sicker than they were before.
And Here is fine.
But I’ve never done“fine”before.
And I’ve never been Herebefore.
I wonder where this will go?
Before I was "Here", I was "There".
I was "There"a long time.
And Therewas a beautiful abode, truly beautiful. There was a canal front house, with a pool, tumbled marble patios and terrace, four bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and a formal dining room. There was impeccably renovated, and furnished smartly.
There was located inBay Harbor Estates, a beautiful gated community just 10 minutes from the heart of downtownMiamicity center, and 15 minutes from chic and trendySouth Beach,Miami Beach,Florida.
There was where I ran when I had to escape my old life inNew York City. Yes, before I was Here, I was There, and before I was There, I was at those other“There’s”I’d previously inhabited in New York City,Jersey City,NJ, andEast Hampton,NY.
All of my other lives have been at a“There”.
“There”was where I always was when I wasn’t Here.
“To be, or not to be?”
I have to get serious.
I’ll be serious.
“There”, I’ve always been at a“There”.
Now I’m not“There”, now I’m Here.
And Here ain’t bad.
Here is in theCity of theVillageof Miami Shores,only some five minutes north of Bay Harbor Estates and hence some 15 minutes north of the sophistication that is downtownMiami/Brickelland some 20 minutes north of the trendy, chic environs, ofSouthandMiami Beach.
Here is a two bedroom, split floor plan house of some 2,033 square feet (under air), on a 9,000 square foot lot, finished with cove ceilings (that’s ceilings with insets for those of you who don’t know about those things), Crema de Marfil marble floors, snazzy Bisazza glass tile trimmed marble tiled bathrooms, granite topped kitchen counters, and deluxe, hurricane impact, triple wide glass windows letting the Florida sunlight stream in and sparkle over the marble, snazzy glass tile, granite, and stainless steel scattered all around the house.
It’s all so upscale that it almost makes me retch.
And I had all of the furniture redone to match the new digs before I moved in.
I planned all of this stuff, each and every piece of it. I searched for this place and hard, 40, 50, maybe 60 houses did I look at, and finally Here.
I chose Here.
Crema de Marfil marble floors, granite, stainless steel, snazzy Bisazza…
I chose Here.
And Here is turning out to be a great choice.
I’m more than a little comfortable. The space is more than a little spacious. There’s only me and Freud in residence and we ramble around from room to room with impunity; breakfast at the granite breakfast bar, lunch at the eat-in breakfast room table under a grand crystal chandelier, dinner in the dining room, music in the living room, TV in the family room.
Daily we ramble around the house with impunity and wanton abandon, ramble, ramble, ramble. But the house is pretty silent, totally devoid of voices, and that silence hurts me. And there are no memories Here,no memories of anything, no memories of Mitch, no memories of Gal, no memories of Ziggy, there are no memories Here.
And I haven’t gotten laid Here,and I haven’t been well Here.
So there are no memories of consequence Here.
And yet, and yet, and yet, and yet… and yet, I haven’t died Here and I did almost do that There. So maybe Here is better,
I was There so long, twelve years I was There. And I wanted to be There until I died. That’s why I put so much effort, and spent so much money on developing There. I wanted Thereto be the last place I lived.
And There almost was.
But I didn’t die There.
I didn’t die There, I almost died There, but I didn’t. Ziggy died There.
And Mitch died There.
Mitch didn’t die There physically, in the house.
Mitch died on a driveway miles and miles away physically. But emotionallyfor me, Mitch died There. As Mitch had lived There emotionally with me, Mitch died There emotionally for me. And right now I feel as if I’ve died emotionally too because I didn’t want to leave There,and leave my memories.
All of my memories are There. Just like all of my other memories of any credibility are at the There(s) of before too. I have no memories of any credibility Hereyet. Lots of pretty rooms do I have. Lots of pretty Crema De Marfil marble, and granite, and stainless steel, and snazzy Bisazza glass tiles do I have, but new memories of any credibility, no, none
I have no memories of any credibility Here. No memories do I have, this place is filled with stuff, fine stuff, pretty stuff, my stuff, and yet…
Memories of credibility I had There,and at the There(s) before that, memories at, and of, all of those There(s).
My last close relative, my Father, died five days afterSeptember 11, 2001. Yeah, that’s right, Dad died five days after theTwin Towerscame down and all of New York City imploded.
For the first time in my life I was responsible to no one except myself, everyone was gone. My Mother, my Grandmother, my Father, all of them, gone. There was just me now in a pretty, renovated,1856 Federal TownhouseinJersey City,NJ, me with my adorable dog, my firstFrench Bulldog Ziggy, all of my memories from all of those otherThere(s) of before, and a stratified, frozen and decaying 12-year-old relationship withGal.
That relationship with Gal had been dying, along with my Father, for years, but my Father died first, leaving me to face an empty reality with an empty relationship still at hand. I didn’t know what to do, so at first I did nothing. And at first“nothing”was all I could, or wanted, to do.
Then I had to escape.
So onOctober 31,Halloweenmorning, 2001, I put my adorable white Frenchie, Ziggy, into myBMW X5along with my suitcase, computer, and cell phone, and left on an indeterminate road trip to find my middle-aged self.
And at first I just drove South onI-95.
I was going to Miami.
But I didn’t, somewhere aroundJacksonvilleI had second thoughts about being alone in Miami.
“ALONE” in Miami filled me with trepidation just then.
And then I remembered, that I had old, old, friends, older than me by decades, and great friends of mine for decades, residing in a smallFlorida Gulf Coasttown nearCharlotte Harborand there I would go.
I remembered that there was a watersideHoliday Innnot far from their home, and that the Holiday Inn was located near a supermarket and all-around mini shopping center. And there was a small harborside park with a beach right next door for Ziggy. The location was perfect, and so with my cell phone I called information, and then the hotel, and then with a confirmation number for a reservation for a mini-suite for a week in hand, I drove off downI-75from Jacksonville with a new destination in mind.
But I didn’t stay at the Holiday Inn, in a mini-suite, for a week.
… for a week I did not stay. I stayed ensconced in that suite for 17 days, 17 days of tranquility, peace, and quiet. For the first time in what seemed to be forever I wasn’t writhing with tension, so I pushed the window.
I was content.
And content I stayed for 17 days.
On the morning of the 18thday I left.
I told my friends that I was going home, back to New York.
That was the information they expected to hear, the“information”that I think they wanted to hear, and the“information”they would understand. They knew almost everything about my life, my business, my Mother, my Father, my houses, my tensions, they knew almost everything about me. But as with all relationships, some things were held back, either by convenience, necessity, or duplicity, but held back nonetheless.
These people lived in a small, quiet town inCharlotte County,Florida, with all of its family values and small town America peccadilloes, with their son, his wife, and their grandchildren nearby.
I lived in thatGomorrah of the Northwith its constant noise, and tumult, and relationship confusion, and so some things just never got said.
So on the 18thday I was going home, back.
Except I wasn’t.
After 17 days of small town Florida life, and small town family values, I needed a return to Big City life, and Big City values, so I was going toManhattan South. Now I was going to Miami, Miami Beach to be specific, toSouth Beachactually.