We haven’t decided what he looks like yet, but we’re pretty sure he’s a mutt. Not a pure-breed or anything like that. A shaggy dirty proud looking mutt. But we love him. And I must say that picking up imaginary shit in the park, is preferable to real dog shit. The downsides are getting weird looks throwing sticks for an imaginary dog and the pisser of having to retrieve them yourself.
Rehoming Maurice wasn’t a completely selfless endeavour: we had a vested interest. The fictitious rehoming centre were really understanding about the reasons we gave and given that they have so many imaginary dogs needing homes, they were keen to get the ball rolling and give Maurice a new home. The relationship is mutually beneficial. Real dogs always seem to take precedent over imagined ones in peoples hearts and it’s just so unfair for all those ghost dogs and imaginary dogs having to suffer on the outskirts of the conscious world.
Lucky for Maurice, I’m not completely used to living with my mum yet (although it’s been 2 years nearly). And although I love the shit out of her, she is sometimes unwittingly trying. The need to walk an imaginary dog and get out of the house for an hour or so, proved to be the saviour of my emotional wellbeing this Sunday just passed. And though I know that living with her is a privilege and I have come to enjoy sharing a household with her, there are times when neither can I express my need for space nor could she take the mild rejection of me requesting it. So she continues following me around the house, and I try not to hate myself for the frustration I feel. Enter Maurice.
Going for a walk with him, the cold air brings down the swelling of my rage and I achieve some clarity. Some perspective. I remind myself there was once a time (which feels just like the distant memory of a novel I once read and not the actuality of my life) that I shadowed her so infuriatingly often that she hid in the toilet just to get a minutes peace from me. There was a time when I couldn’t stand the stretch of the emotional umbilical chord for even the few hours that I had to stay at school. I need to remember this because the tables have turned and I am obligated to her in the same way that she was to me. It would be wrong of me to disregard her and leave her for shit. Although many do (and God I envy the people who’s conscious allows this) and I don’t judge them badly for it because we each have to live our life according to what works best for us and who am I to judge anyway, I am the owner of an imaginary dog for fuck’s sake. Besides, it’s not just duty that binds me to her, it is love: and the second I put myself in her shoes and imagine what it must feel like for her, I refuse to accept any alternative.
For the times when we are laughing like mad bitches in the front room at some bollox on the telly or when she is being so unbearably cute I could just kiss her to pieces, Maurice sleeps quietly at my heels, undetected by my mum or the cat.