I went outside for a cigarette today, as I do most days. When I left, the boys didn't seem to care. When I returned 10 minutes later, Rex and Aidan were both waiting for me, their noses up against the crack in the door that I would be returning through.
Later, when I went out for another cigarette many hours later, I opened the door and there was Aidan, waiting where he would be the first thing I saw. I stepped in, said hello to the pug, and then heard a petulant voice saying, "Don't say hello to me, then." I peeked around the door and there was Rex, hidden out of sight and obscured by the shadows. "Hi, little Rex," I said, shutting the door.
"Hi!" he said.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" said Aidan, trying to get the attention back. I ignored them both in order to keep from offending one or the other of them, and went into the bedroom, where Davey was editing pictures.
"I wonder if they sit at the door when I leave every time or just when I'm smoking," I mused. There's a big enough gap under our front door that I'm pretty sure their sensitive schnozzes would be able to pick up the smoke scent and, from past experience, they could figure out that I would be back in a moment.
"No," said Davey. "They do that every time you leave."
"I wonder how long they wait at the door like that," I said.
"Probably a long time," said Davey. It almost sounded like he thought our pets were losers.
I imagined what that must be like, both guys waiting at the door for me until eventually they gave up on my returning any time soon. I imagine it would go something like this, if they could talk like I pretend they can:
"I wonder where she went," wonders Aidan.
"When she takes me, she usually puts me in a box and goes to the man who puts needles in me, but sometimes we go to a new house and then we stay there forever," says Rex. "So I'm glad she went by herself."
"She takes me to the park and the store and to Grandma's and Nana's and everywhere," brags Aidan, then stops to think. "Why didn't she take me this time?" He slumps down and puts his head on his paws in sorrow.
They sit quietly for a moment, each thinking their own opposite thoughts. Rex reflects on how little he enjoys going on trips in the car, and Aidan wishes he were interfering with my driving right now.
"Wanna play a game?" Aidan suggests.
"No," says Rex. "You're too rough."
Aidan cocks his head thoughtfully. "We could smell garbage."
Rex rubs his face on the wall. "I can smell it from here."
"Me too!" says Aidan, ecstatically. "It's nice to do things together, isn't it."
"I guess," says Rex, because he is aloof, although I suspect he secretly likes the company.
They are quiet for a few minutes more, united only by their waiting for me.
"Your Daddy is a jerk," says Rex.
"My Daddy is a saint!" protests Aidan. "He is the most tall and handsome and smart and rich man in the world."
"I don't like him," says Rex. "He doesn't pay attention to me, except when Mom is watching, and then I turn my butt at him, so they both know I think Aidan's Daddy is a dumb jerk."
"I like him!" says Aidan.
"I don't," says Rex. "He doesn't pet me or tell me I'm cute or give me treats. All he likes is you."
"I like him a lot!" says Aidan. "He has the most wonderful voice, and his muscles are bigger than anyone else's and he always says the most interesting things!"
"He's not good enough for my Mom," sulks Rex, who dislikes Davey out of a bruised ego more than anything else.
"No one's good enough for my Mom!" agrees Aidan, dreamily. "Not even my Daddy, and he's perfect."
"My Mom," corrects Rex.
"No one's good enough for our Mom!" Aidan accedes. Rex doesn't press the issue any further, proving that they are much better friends now than they used to be.
"She has all the best haircuts and her feet are so small and she sings like an angel and she has many interesting hobbies and she makes little calzones and she smells like something and her eyes aren't brown and she has lots of clothes and she's so strong she can pick me up and carry me and she has treats in a drawer that she gives me- hey, and she gives them to you, too! She's so great!" Aidan enthuses.
"You're right. I hope she gets home before your ugly, farty Dad," says Rex.
Check out the following photographic masterpieces by Davey.