Some Progress is Better Than No Progress

“You get on every last one of my nerves, Dionysus.”

Dionysus wrapped herself around my thigh. This raccoon was going to be the death of me. It was dinner time, for the both of us, of course. However, her dinner was thirty seconds late. At least, that’s what her grip on my inner thigh was saying.

I made it into the kitchen, despite the leech my baby became when I emerged from my office. I kept the door shut when I was in “Deep Focus” mode. Dionysus was an attention hog, and would regularly interrupt me. Sometimes I didn’t mind it.

The bad days. The ones I struggled to even pull myself from bed. The ones I had to get through five minutes at a time. On those days, I was grateful for this sentient being who kept me out of my head long enough to feed her and let her outside to do her business.

Today was a good day, though. I made progress on a high-priority art project. I caught up on emails. I even added some color to a portrait I’d been trying to complete for the past six months.

I pulled a bowl of diced honeydew, grapes, and orange slices from the fridge. Dionysus climbed to my shoulder. She was pretty good about staying off the counters. Her fingernails digging into my skin, though, and the way her body trembled let me know I was moving too slow. She was point-four seconds from taking matters into her own adorable hands.

I added a half-bag of sunflower seeds to the mix and some cubed chicken breast, then set the bowl on her place mat next to the stove. Dionysus launched herself to the floor and shoved those adorable hands into the bowl, chowing down like I hadn’t just fed her a few hours ago.

“You eat better than I do, you ungrateful brat,” I grumbled, pulling a microwaveable meal from the freezer.

Three minutes later, I was sitting on the floor next to her, spooning cheesy broccoli and rice into my mouth. Only the sounds of our chewing permeated the small kitchen. I wasn’t destitute, but I wasn’t living a life of luxury, either.

However, if Dionysus was healthy—physically and mentally—I’d settle for my meager shelter and just enough calories to get me through the day. As I finished up my dinner, Dionysus curled up in my lap. She grumbled in that cute way of hers that made my chest all warm.

“Alright, alright. Day’s over, I guess,” I said, stroking the rough fur under her chin. She smacked her lips and curled up tighter. I fell in love with her all over again, thankful for the local raccoon rescue for trusting me to care for her. I’d come a long way from organizing raccoon fights in my backyard.

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