- You look so tired all the time, I said to Marianne who looked like she was planning on falling asleep with her nose in her coffee mug.
- Well that´t because I am tired all the time… her eyes opened, - Haven´t slept a wink in many nights.
- No, not really. Or in a way, as a result of it all, perhaps.
- You are not making any sense, I said, - Here, let me pour you some more coffee.
Marianne extended an arm and pushed her empty coffee mug into my general direction. I poured it full and gave it back to her. She gulped down half of it and looked at me (with rather reddish eyes, I might add).
- It´s Bella.
- Oh no, has something happened to her?
Bella was their dog, an old girl - I think she was a Labrador or Golden retriever mix. She was the kindest old dog you could imagine and everyone loved her.
- No, no… Usually she sleeps in the living room with her cat as you know.
Yes, I knew. Bella had a stuffed toy cat she loved more than anything. She carried it everywhere - also outdoors, holding the cat securely from the neck (making a lot of people smile). When it was time to wash the cat, she sat in front of the washing machine with the expression of total despair. And once the clean cat was out, she did her best to drool over it to make it her own again. The general condition of the cat was less than hygienic, but no one could persuade Bella to leave it anywhere. And so Bella slept in the living room with her toy friend.
- Well, I´m afraid the cat met its end the other day. Another dog stole it in the park and we could never find it again.
- Oh, no!
- Oh, yes. And that´s when me being tired all the time started.- We had to comfort Bella somehow so we allowed her to sleep in our bedroom. Not a good idea.
- No. Have you ever heard of dog snoring?
- Dog snoring? You mean Bella is a snoring dog?
Marianne looked at me silently, gulped down the rest of her coffee and pushed her mug in my direction again. I poured it full.
- Bella is very much a snoring dog. Bella gives a whole new meaning to dog snoring. She snores worse than your aunt Agatha. You see the connection to why I look so tired all the time?
- Oh, I do, I do…
(Aunt Agatha was my father´s aunt - a wee slip of an old woman. When she came to visit no one slept. She snored so loudly the windows trembled. Really, not kidding you. She kept on complaining relatives never invited her to visit and when they did they seemed to be so tired all the time, lazy folks...)
- And how does your neigbor fit into all this?
- Well, last night I had had enough. Every time I tried to fall asleep, Bella broke the sound barrier. I wonder why the sonic boom didn´t wake up the whole village.
- What did you do?
- I yelled. First just a shriek of anger and then "Stop that bloody snoring!" as loud as I could.
- Well, I did manage to wake Bella. I pushed her out of the bedroom and shut the door. It was time she dealt with her loss on her own. Then I had to help John calm down. He sat on the bed and was certain he was having a mild heart attack. And then I sat by the open window for the rest of the night, trying to calm down myself.
- By the look of you I would say you weren´t very successful….?
- No, Bella kept scratching the door, trying to get back in. But in the morning when I left for work, the neighbor´s wife was waiting by the fence. Can you imagine - the first thing she said to me was "thank you!" And she gave me those!
Marianne waved in the direction of a flower vase full of beautiful garden roses.
- Thank you with flowers? I don´t get it…
- She had tears in her eyes and she told me she would never forget the favor I had done to her. You see Ed, the neighbor, her husband, was obviously quite a snorer. But he never admitted he snored. It was a sore spot to him - no one in the family was allowed to talk about it. And the Mrs was already half deaf in her other ear as a result - and was tired all the time also.
- Well - we both had our windows open because it was a warm night and so he woke up at my first shriek. And the next thing he thought he heard was me yelling at him to stop snoring.
Marianne stood up looking like she was feeling the first effects of a caffeine overdose.
- And the first thing Ed did in the morning was to apologize to his wife, admit he had a snoring problem and book a time from his doctor to do something about it. But I suspect he isn´t talking to me again.
- Well, I´m sure his wife is much more fun company, so not your loss.
- Yes, I am sure. Oh, and I won´t be coming to lunch today.
- I have to go buy Bella a new stuffed cat, I´m sure you understand.
I did. After all you had to do anything to help a grieving, snoring dog, wouldn´t you agree?
© Leena Pekkalainen
cuddling cutie / © iStockphoto.com / MentalArt