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Not far from here is my home of a number of years and the companion who comes along with it.  There are horses and dogs and cats that make up something like my family.

Several nights ago, having resolutely made myself adjust to and live in my new apartment,  I started to lose sleep and feel so very unsettled.  I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking of them, or of my room still set up there, my companion.

Stoical me.  Bravely writing on when I’m tired, suddenly only sleeping at intervals, downing more coffee, launching another draft, throwing myself back into writing .

I managed to calm and soothe myself and rest into the morning, without letting my homesickness propel me out the door.

When I woke I packed up a few things, and took Tess, my Golden, and fired up the Ford Ranger, which I hadn’t started in a week, and off we went, into the day.

We drove down to pick up Highway 287 north, past Los Pichones, calling to me on the west side of the road, Jax Surplus, where  a crew of Boy Scouts was spilling out of an SUV, heading in to look at camping equpment.

Smokeys rolled past me, splattering my windshield with ice and mud on the way to the Colorado Wyoming border checkpoint.  The Ever Open Cafe parking lot was crowded with pick ups and I knew that Maud would be serving up the breakfast burritos, Saturday morning special, as she had for thirty odd years.  I kept on.

I bumped over the easement through the boarding stable, up our driveway. My two grey Arabian mares were arguing over the last of their breakfast hay.  They lifted their heads when I called their names, and kept eating.  One is 27, the last living daughter of one of the most famous stallions in the world; I had rescued her from slaughter. The other was given to us a few months ago on the same day we had to put our oldest mare to sleep.

I went up the steps, into the house and was greeted by four tiger striped yellow cats.  Doug came out, sleepy, and started some coffee.  He let Mandy, the Jack Russell, out of his room and she leapt into my lap.

Out of habit I started picking things up and dusting.  He quietly said, “You’re making me nervous.

Yes.

We sat in the pale light of morning, with our coffee.

Are you sure you’re o.k. that I’m here?

Sure, he said.

We had our second cup of coffee.  He went in and turned on the little heater in my room.  I went in and shook the dust off the comforter.

I came back out.  “Mice have been living in my bed.”

No they haven’t.

Yes, they have.  There were little mouse turds all over the place.

Good gravy, he said.

I brushed them off.  I’m tired.  If there’s a nest of mice in the mattress, they’ll just have to stay put.

He laughed.

He went off to resume reading a Hemingway biography I had bought him on e-bay a few weeks ago–

I went into my room with Tess, turned on the fan and lay down.  I let myself sink into the familiar embrace of my old bed.

The furnace clicked on and off. I could hear someone at the stable fire up a tractor, and to the West, the 3 p.m. Union Pacific coming through.  I slipped into deep rest.

After I got up, we had coffee again, talking politics, books, Hemingway’s demons, until it got late. As I left, he had begun peeling potatoes for supper.

Tess and I had our little treat at Burger King and then headed back to town on the straightaway I have driven for many years, every fencepost known to me.

I’m back in my apartment, blues on the radio, Saturday night

Once upon a dream we were going to marry.   Now we are traveling along side by side separated by a few miles, winter’s high oblong moon lighting the way.

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