The door was locked, the lights were off, the place was quiet. But I was not alone. Past the stage and up the stairs, I tread the grey office carpet. A rusty-brown blur dashed towards me, nose sniffing, tail wagging, tongue panting. Two metal plates clinked together.
“Fat face!” I yelped. My hands dove to meet him and scratch him all over. One hind leg picked up and pedaled at the air; got him right between the shoulder blades. He’s a rescue, a very shy boy who’s still afraid of humans. But he likes me, and as odd as it sounds it makes me really like him. What I didn’t realize until too late, however, was that my hands were now covered in a subtle but textured film of dirt. Long, brown hairs drifted up in to the air after the vigorous scratching, embedding themselves in the long sleeves of my wool sweater and sticking to my lips.
About two hours later, I couldn’t stop sneezing.
Allergies, of course. I’m allergic to dogs, despite how much I love them. But it’s usually not that bad unless I pet a dog and then scratch my eye.
Another hour later, my head aches. My neck is in pain, Every limb felt weak. Productivity dropped, and I could barely read anything on my computer screen anymore. Usually I don’t take medicine as much as I can help it, but this time I had some Advil and a 40minute lie-down on the office couch. It helped a ton, but it’s evening now and I STILL have a runny nose, achy body, and a scratchy throat with a cough. I suspect this is the flu. And just my luck, tomorrow is an early day – we’re expected to be at work by 8:30am…1.5 hours earlier than normal. More like 2 hours since they don’t seem to mind when I get in at 10:30am.
My eyes are dry and heavy.
Was it worth it? All this pain and misery just to pet a dog? I don’t know. Maybe. But it doesn’t really matter even if I say it wasn’t worth it, because I KNOW that if I see that fat-face again I’m so giving him a belly rub.