First of November is the opening of the pheasants hunting season and every year by tradition the master and his dogs off they go: no matter the weather. Even taking a day off work is allowed for the event, and believe me, considering the travelling husband’s working ethic this is a big deal and a sign of pure and extreme passion.
I strongly respect people with a passion and who are willing to sacrifice for it, regardless of what their hobby is, and that is why hunting is tolerated in the house.
This year, the excitement was even more significant than usual because last year he had to skip it. Of course there was a good reason, like laying unconscious in a bed hospital after having had a life-threatening surgery. Still,in his caveman’s head, skipping hunting on the first of November, it was the closest thing to a capital sin he had ever done. The memory is still unbearable and haunting him.
I am not saying that going into the hospital for a major operation and consequently having to skip hunting time traumatised the travelling husband more than coming to the school disco, but it sure went close. So close that the last few days he was wandering around the house reminding everybody what had happened the previous year at this time.
Was he seeking attention? Pity?A bit of drama? Who knows! The only thing we girls of the house knew, it was that never could come a better time to put in practice what he always says:”You need to be more rational girls and look at things from a more detached point of view. It is part of life!”. So we did, and ignored his little private commemoration. Unfortunately I have reason to believe that he was not as pleased as I thought he would be to see us finally and actively practice his teaching, as one evening he mentioned the scar, at times, still hurts. “Just detach your self-darling, would you?! Be rational. It cannot possibly be after a year”, I said, struggling not to laugh, but at least it was the end of it.
Now, back to the real topic of this post, by eight o’clock in the morning, they were ready at the door fully equipped.
They went locally, but despite not having over an hour to drive as they usually have when going to the lake, they haven’t returned until nearly six in the evening. Just when it started to get dark.
When they got home, I was still busy writing and didn’t pay much attention to them. I only made sure the dogs had a good bath before coming inside because even in the dark it was quite visible how muddy they were. Clara had no white spots left on her fur.
Scented and presentable here they are begging for food, but I am still working.
“Sorry guys, the master brought you out, and the master will feed you”.
The master is not their usual feeder, but after seeing no attempt of mine to leave the desk, they patiently waited for those interminable three minutes until the travelling husband came in too and fed them.
It was after Kurt and Clara had their dinner, and I eventually switched off the laptop that I noticed that something was not right with them. After a long day of hunting they would typically eat and go to sleep, but yesterday, for some reason, they were extremely unsettled. They kept wandering around the kitchen from one of their favourite spot to another as they couldn’t find a place to rest.
In the end, Clara settled and took advantage of the fact Kurt was not in full possession of the couch yet and comfortable snuggled in there peacefully starting to snore away.
Kurt was instead still restless, and after he moved around the kitchen for a while, he tried to lay down in the most awkward positions. Not to wonder he was not getting comfortable!
“He is very unsettled. It is not like him”, I inquisitively said to the travelling husband who had just poured me a glass of wine, probably in the attempt to distract me from the dog’s weird behaviour.
“Cheers”, he says toasting at my glass.
“I am serious. There is something wrong with him.”, I replayed not even looking at the glass but just keeping my eyes on the giant dog laying at my feet.
“I don’t think so, he ate all his dinner, he is fine”.The travelling husband desperately tried to sound calm and confident, but he was not convincing. In five years We have never seen Kurt lacking in appetite, not even when still half sedated after being snipped.
“He is constantly chronically hungry. Having a good appetite is not necessarily a sign of good health in him”, I snapped. The husband changed colour, he knows me well enough to see that what was going through my mind was instead: “What the feck have you done to my dog?”. Everybody knows Kurt is a mama’s boy.
“I didn’t do anything. It was not me. The dog was fine all day, I swear”, panic clearly started to rise in the king of rationality.Nearly a reason to celebrate if I was not so concerned for my dog.
I looked at the traveling husband and thought:”Jesus, how old are you? This is what your kids usually tell me when it is obvious they are filthy guilty of something and they know I know but still are too afraid to confess”.In my infinite gracious,I haven’t said anything further and turned my look back to poor Kurt ,who was now looking at me with big sad eyes.
I go close to him and start petting him, but he is not much reactive. I tried to turn him around, but his thirty kilos make it a bit difficult and so I leave him on his side and start to scratch his belly. That it seemed to like it, but still his usual enthusiasm was dormant.
I go back to my stool, I drink a sip of my wine and look puzzled at the travelling husband who looked back at me as much puzzled as me .
A long, loud sigh claims our attention back to the giant dog who, with significant effort tries to adjust his massive body in a more comfortable position that seems very hard to find.
Should we seriously worry? Kurt’s long loud, and let’s face also pushingly overdramatic, attracted even Clara attention which, with the evident annoyance of having her so deserved rest disturbed, slowly made her way to the brother.
She sniffed him and then look at him straight in the eye. To be precise, considering that Clara is nearly completely blind, she more looked at him wherever she thought his eyes were.
“Come on big boy. You are fine, stop the drama!”
“Oh Clara, what is wrong with me.???????”
“You big ears idiot, if you would not have run for nine hours straight, maybe you wouldn’t feel so shattered now.”
“I am dying Clara, am I? Tell me the truth. My energy is abandoning me. I can feel it.”
“Dear lord the bigger, the sissier. Now get up and go to the couch to show those two you are fine, or else mama will chop papa’s head off if she thinks he had endangered you in any way.”
“I can’t Clara; you can’t understand……”
“Kurt, get up. You are not dying. You are just tired!~ Welcome to the human dogs’ world.”
I can’t be sure that this was the exact conversation that went on between brother and sister, but after Clara growled at him with the last hint of energy left, he looked at her with big tired puppy eyes and clumsily went to his usual spot on the couch.
I kept an eye on him for the rest of the evening, but in the end my diagnosis was the same of good old wise Clara’s.
Kurt was just tired. For the first time in his life he got to experience proper tiredness. For the first time in five years of living together, we got to see him tired and armless, but at least the travelling husband still has his head attached to his neck.