I really don’t think human beings are meant to function @ 4:30AM, at least I know I’m not. I stumbled into the dark, being dragged forward as if by a small car. My thirty-five pound Staffordshire Terrier clearly needed some obedience lessons. I suspected she had the ability to become a champion weight dog, and briefly wondered if I could generate some income through competition, to cover her mounting expenses.
We headed down the sidewalk at a quick pace. She moved as if on a mission, walking quickly with her small block head moving side to side like a radar…searching, searching, searching. Every muscle in her body was tensed, and I wondered if she had detected something I could not see through the dark, or if this was her normal “relaxed” demeanor. I still moved in a residual sleep fog, and was about to learn that paying attention to this animal was to become an essential part of maintaining my own health.
Suddenly, the planets aligned and just as I stepped down to where a driveway met the sidewalk, Lulu leapt towards the field to our left. If my feet had been on flat ground, I might have stood a chance, but there was a void below my last step. Lulu yanked me forward and I flailed my arms to try and regain my balance. Unfortunately, the 35 pounds I had gained traveling this year did nothing but increase my forward momentum. My only hope was that the flub would also serve as some type of cushion.
As the concrete rushed up to meet me, my one thought was that I was glad it was dark and nobody could see this. No matter the situation, I can always count on my ego to be front and center. The air whooshed from my chest as I slammed into the ground, turning my head just in time to prevent some ugly contusions or a broken nose. I could only imagine this fall if my own personal air bag had not come into play.
I laid on the sidewalk trying to inflate my lungs with all of the air that had just been forcibly ejected from those organs. Seconds seemed like minutes until I began to slowly move my limbs, checking for breaks, sprains and other painful wounds. I turned my head to see my new dog sitting right next to my head looking at me. She appeared worried and nervous, not sure what to do. Was this to be a normal part of her morning walk? Should she also lay with me on the pavement? Slowly, I rolled over and sat up. This was Lulu’s queue to begin bouncing forward. She was thrilled the walk was to continue. I just sat glaring at her in disgust and pain.
Slowly, I stood, continuing to do a body evaluation. My chest and side were the most painful. I suspect I either had some deep bruising or muscle tears, because this deep, dull pain would continue for 3-4 months. I also knew that to others I would appear soundly beaten, with several abrasions, and a partial black eye where the side of my face had lost it’s battle with the concrete.
I set back on my heels and began to walk slowly, very slowly…as the radar recommenced searching, searching, searching.