From the time I was a kid, I’ve heard my mom complain that I’m a “touch me not.” She was (and still is) forever wanting to hug me until the life started to squeeze out of me. When we met people, I wasn’t one of those sweet little girls who talked to new people nonstop. I was reserved, and known for my inopportune replies to questions that I felt were, ahem, less than intelligent. This was before I was even in Kindergarten. I am just not a touchy-feely person.
Thats not to say that I don’t enjoy affection. At work, I’m a hugging post all day with the young children I work with, and some of them need hugs more than anyone else I know. I like showing affection with Mr. Taleteller, too, like holding hands, kissing and hugging. Our dogs are affectionate in their own way, too. They like to lean on us or curl up and be close to us. I enjoy all of those things. I just don’t like people forcing it on me. We all have our own style of what we like and don’t like, and I’m good with that.
Most nights, Bunny appears in the bedroom just before or after the lights go out. The other night, she’d fallen asleep in the living room and Flattery decided to make the most of her rare opportunity to curl up in the prime spot between my husband and me. Not long after Flattery had made herself comfortable, Bunny appeared as well. She must have been really tired or lonely, because she didn’t make the usual fuss for her spot, she just laid down towards the foot of the bed and made sure that she was close to me. Her head and front leg had to be draped over my leg.
Even when I turned over, she had to be touching me. A part of me thought about objecting, but I was too tired. There’s also the the fact that I enjoy her preference for me. I went to sleep with Flattery at by back and Bunny holding on to my leg while Thr Carpenters crooned “Close To You” somewhere in the background. On a normal night, with two normal dogs, that would be the end of it.
In the early hours of the next morning, I woke up and something seemed different. It was close to the time when the dogs wake up and I tried to be quiet, because it still seemed very quiet and still in our house. I knew Mr. Taleteller had an early morning and I wanted him to get as much rest as possible. Still, nature was calling loudly, even if the dogs were not. I prepared to slip quietly out of bed.
I noticed that my legs were free, unlike when I went to sleep. I also noted that Flattery’s body was no longer wedged against my upper back. I turned over to look and there was Bunny sleeping beside me. Her head was on my husband’s pillow and she was facing me, just like a human would sleep on a pillow. Her paws were extended in my direction so that they were ever so lightly touching me, so faintly that I hadn’t even felt them. The funniest part was that as she slept, she had the biggest smile glowing in the faint morning light that I have ever seen on her.
She was so comfortable, as a matter of fact, that I thought my husband might not be in the bed. Usually that level of bliss is reserved for times when Mr. Taleteller is out of town and Bunny doesn’t have to share that side of the bed with him. I’m not sure how she got Flattery out of the bed, or if coercion was even required, because Flattery is known to wander at night.
I snuck out of bed, went to the bathroom and tiptoed past Flattery who was standing guard as a Sphinx on the floor. I knew the minutes of quiet were limited, but I had another glimpse of Bunny with her smile plastered on her face before I climbed back under the covers. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the Shepherds started barking and then Mr. Taleteller got up to let them out. For once, he had to call Bunny to come to the back door to go out.
I guess there really is nothing like a comfortable spot next to someone you love, no matter who or what they are. Sometimes having someone be close to you is all you need. I count myself lucky for that every day.