Sleeping with Zorro

I can hear his breathing as I fall asleep with his tiny furry body curled up against my abdomen. He seems so small at night, not that he's ever large, but when he's sleeping, when he's all curled up, I realize just how tiny he really is.

He shifts, when I turn over, waking just enough to re-settle against the small of my back. His breathing changes slightly, and while I can't see him, I can tell he's doing a visual perimeter patrol of the room. Just in case.

When morning comes, he is tucked beneath my armpit, breathing in that nearly unnoticable way that small dogs do when they're resting. My hand, left outside the protection of covers, is an icicle, and I have to move him to claim the warmth of blankets. Not such a bad thing, as I have to pee, anyway.

Instantly awake, he jumps from the bed before I'm even sitting up completely, and I pad barefoot into the bathroom. I know from the jingle of tags and his soft doggy 'ooof!' that he'll be curled up in my spot when I return.

Indeed he is. I scoop him into my arms, and bury my nose in his ruff – the fur at the nape of his neck – he smells vaguely of cinnamon and honeysuckle, and not at all like a dog. I scratch his ears and tell him he's a good boy, and then put him back on the bed, where he presses himself into the gap between Fuzzy's pillows and mine. (My husband, it should be noted, sleeps soundly through all of this.)

I reclaim my spot on the bed, lying on my side, and facing the windows, not the dog. He reaches out with a single tiny paw, and places it on my shoulder, reminding me of his presence, and then he sighs softly, and his tags jingle, and I know he's resting his chin on the corner of my pillow.

Sleep carries us both to dreamland, where I sit in a cafe and sip coffee with Dorothy Parker. I wonder what he dreams about. Probably cheesy treats and warm sunny decks to lie upon. Or maybe, just maybe, a pillow of his own.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Sleeping with Zorro by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.