This dog was abused, I think, and that gave it a shitty personality. That’s the correct cause and effect, right? Otherwise, the story of the dog is much sadder and I’m just trying to cheer up Grace. Her long sadness had broken, and she appeared, bath bomb-radiant and pink, excited to attend a movie? I cannot stress the deep dejection she had previously felt—don’t say wet blanket—and moods are a type of muscle, stronger with use. I’m not an expert! But I told Gabe to go pick some flowers while Grace and I talked about the type of story we’d like to see told. Because we had never planted any flowers, Gabe came back with some handsome weeds, and no one fussed about the difference if there was one. It was a new day, but fragile!
There are, of course, multiple frameworks available to choose from. I am not sitting. I’m trying to pet the dog even though he doesn’t like it. I feel that if I can just keep the dog from barking, the situation will resolve. Otherwise, all is lost and we’re back to the beginning, the bottom.
“This one sounds fun,” Grace said, and I went with it.
“Grace!” I said.
“What?” she said.
I was so happy I felt like buying presents, but then again that thought occurred to me that I am the cause of all of Grace’s misery. I’m becoming more non-profit. Last night was not my best meal. What movie?
Gabe interceded. “Pizza,” he said.
Eighteen months later, we came home from the movies and the dog is still growling. It’s a hustle keeping Grace—up. Which is to say, keeping up with Grace. It’s the movies where she regained pleasure, and so we’ve seen everything we can in English. Even so, there is that horror that it might return, that darker Grace, and contagious. We have this pass that lets us walk right in and the carpet is, of course, red. They know our order. I’ve read the disease is life-long and I still plan to find out, though these tip-toes on the sticky floor, my own swirling anxieties and obsessions and occasional tics. And poor Gabe watching the whole time, seemingly happy if fed, growing like a weed. He approaches the window of onset. We must be invited into his room.
To think, Grace recently championed the installation of a “Slow Children At Play” sign on our street when just last year she used that funny word about herself, lugubrious. Worse than that. I had been imagining the family breaking up like a band, sadly working on our solo projects because of creative differences. Now, she’s thinking civically because the cars were coming by so fast. She’s even thinking romantically: a matching bra and panty set. She still removes my hand but the progress is undeniable. As for my own mental health, I’m cruising.