I expected to be cold, and I wasn't. I expected the beach to be relatively deserted, which it wasn't, but there was plenty of room to wander away from the crowd by the parking lot. I expected Sable to be wound up, which she was, in spades. I expected to have excellent company, and I was not disappointed.
Sable lunged like a goofball, performed down-stays with equal application of liver chunks and corrections, and (to my utter amazement) held a down-stay in the face of a strange dog being walked past us. (Yes, I, mighty dog trainer, had managed both to empty my pocket of all food treats, and to fail to notice the other dog before Sable did. I was rather disgusted with myself at the time, talking a fine line about consistency and preparedness and getting caught short in the crunch. Fortunately, Sable held. Vocalized, but held. What a dog.)
Eventually, I walked Sable towards the surf to see what she thought of it. The noise gave her slight pause, but then she charged at the incoming wave with her jaws open. Chomp! She pulled frantically to get at it again. I was laughing so hard I couldn't concentrate on our "no pull" protocol. Finally I had to drop to my knees to hold her at all. Those chicken waves, running away from the mighty dog! How dare they?
Once I caught up with my oxygen supply, I waded in to what I thought would be knee-deep once the next wave came in. Oh, the canine glee. Then the big one crashed in, and it turned out to be waist-deep on me and right over Sable's head. She was totally undaunted. ("More! More! Attack!") I finally had to haul her away from the surf, which was a job since both Kawaii and I were laughing too hard to breathe.
I actually did take my eyes off the dog once or twice. ;-) Kawaii and I exchanged electricity, comfort, cuddling, and a whole lot of words, in the right place and time. This man crashed back into my life -- two weeks ago, tomorrow -- after a short hiatus. Seven years or so. (Ever been in a car crash? That end-of-the-world metal-folding glass-shattering roar? That's what it sounded like on a psychic level. I almost couldn't breathe.) It took me a while, two Fridays ago, to describe to him why I was spluttering. Finally, I said, "It's rather like having the ocean turn up on your doorstep and ask to come in for tea." So with the whole sea spread in front of us, we discussed that some more.
Being there for him necessarily reminds me a whole lot of last August, and what a misery that entire fall was. Mostly it inspires gratitude (been there, felt that, moved on to something better). Partly it's a chance to reexamine the whole situation now that the blood has dried, the scars faded, the heat and enormity reduced to something manageable.
But there's a reason my internal musical track (usually referred to as "Ambar's DJ of Snide") is going back over all the music I played incessantly last fall. Here's one that turned up on the radio on my way home from the grocery today:
You call me strong, you call me weak, but still your secrets I will keep
You took for granted all the times I never let you down
You stumbled in and bumped your head, if not for me then you'd be dead
I picked you up, put you back on solid ground again
If I go crazy, man, will you still call me Superman?
If I'm alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?
I'll keep you by my side with my superhuman mind
That's the Three Doors Down tune I cited earlier today, which helped me catch onto the notion that I was tired of the role of the mighty rescuer, solver of problems. There's another Superman-themed pop song out currently; I think it's by Five For Fighting:
I'm more than a bird, I'm more than a plane
I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
It may sound absurd, but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to bleed
And it's not easy to be me
Yeah, okay. Come down off the mount and be human. I get it. I like it, even. It's a whole lot less stressful down here.