I had hibernated. I lift my head from the pillow, shoulders and head still aching. Listening for sounds of life, I cock my head towards the hall. But there is nothing but silence. I lift myself from the bed wearily and check the phone I plugged in against the wall prior to sleep. Still searching for a network.
The television is the same. How fortunate, that I have never had a knack for fixing technology of any kind my entire life.
I try the radio next. As I switch it on all I hear is a faint buzz, each station is the same. The buzz does not grow louder or quieter as I pass each station, in fact there is no break in sound at all. Just the drone of an unchanging void. After quite a few minutes the sound starts to get to me. I switch it off and find myself breathing a sigh of relief at the silence that follows.
My head still remembers the tequila, and I'm sure I smell like the bottom of a cactus. And I’m starving. I switch on the burners and whip out some pans. Opening the fridge a sea of glass bottles rattles at me in welcome. I find steak and bag of vegetables and toss them in a wok with teriyaki sauce that’s probably past due. But if I don’t look at the expiration date then I’ll be fine. Bacteria will cook away anyway, right?
I hear the pitter patter of nails against my porch outside. Maybe it’s Cleaver again. Not my problem if they won’t feed him. There’s a reason I don’t own a dog.
The chunks of meat begin to turn from pink to brown. A deafening bark coming from behind me almost makes me drop the meal. Furious, I go to the deck and Cleaver is there, eyes wide, a leash in his mouth. I almost laugh, “You are already outside you stupid dog.”
We gawk at each other. He seems more dubious than I am. He keeps looking at his house and then back at me, as if he wants me to take him home.
“Fine,” I walk back inside and turn off the burner before I grab his collar and walk him the short distance across the street.
The front door of their house is still open. I find myself slowing down as I approach the entrance.
“Lucy?” I shout, peering briefly into the living room on the right and office on the left, “Lucy, Cleaver’s been out all day…”
The words confuse me as they leave my lips. Would they really let him run wild, with cars potentially coming and going all day just a few blocks from us? Why hadn’t they been to see me, looking for him?
Cleaver gently pulls out of my grasp and wanders into the kitchen towards his water bowl, which is almost empty. I follow him. Everything looks normal. Bananas in a fruit display, tea cozies in their intended places, dishes washed and put away. Lucy kept a clean house, I knew. I’d been over to her place with Luke a few times last year. She was a nice girl, and her husband was a sweetheart, but we’d found them kind of boring. Besides, we’d been in that magical relationship period where everything seems lame compared to spending time together alone.
“Lucy? Are you okay?” I peer around into the bedroom. There is no one there, just faces on celluloid smiling back at me from the dressers. The bed is unmade.
I venture into the hall and open the door to the wine cellar. Originally it had been nothing but a basement, but Lucy and Thane had added temperature control devices and sealed it up and now it was a very posh looking spot for them to keep their wines. And they enjoy their wines. I circle about the tiny cellar, which would be too dark to see but for the newly installed lighting fixtures. No Lucy.