On the bus ths morning

I recieve a call from my mom. She's home sick from work and wondering when I can come home. She just has a cold, she said. Allergies from bushes she'd been cutting back yesterday, Sunday, a day we normally speak but didn't. Her illness isn't the reason she wants to know when I'm coming home.

I'm finishing my second quarter at Portland State in three weeks. I'll be off for one month before I'm scheduled to return for the next. I've said I'd go home. I want to, and for as much of it as I can. I want to get out of Portland for an extended period of time for the first time since I moved here two years ago. For the past year plus I've been without a car. And unable to travel with my dog, Heidi. I can't think of a month without her. I want to bring Heidi to New Mexico but don't think to check the animal policiy on southwest.com, a website for cheap fares my mother suggested. I'm going home I tell the one next to me. I see a great deal and click, yes, purchase. Now I'm committed. Later I look where to find out about dogs on planes. Southwest.com informs me that other than service dogs, personal pets are not permitted. Heidi doesn't benifit from my transportation bargin. I look for other options, (A friend suggests a website for owners of pets who need them moved by people going a direction, a form of hitchhicking. Coordination and forty dollars, he says but he forgot the name of the website.) but don't find an answer. I need to be in a meeting and leave the computer.

After dinner with friends, I catch the No. 4 bus to the nearest main road, then walk through the cold, wet, dark side streets to my house. When I get inside my roommates meet me with whattups and nods. Heidi races to the door. She sits and wags and looks up to me for attention. I grab her by the scruff, rub her neck, say yeah yeah hello hi Heidi. I put my bag down and go to my room. My alone place. I sit on my bed and Heidi jumps to look me in the face. Yes, I tell Heidi. I'm going to work it out. I'll make this work. I can't imagine her not in my life. We've been through a lot.

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