It has been a perfect Southern California winter’s day. The sky was bright blue and the temperature hovered near 70 degrees. After 20 years of living in a foggy San Francisco, I don’t take this kind of weather for granted. This is all to say that I was in a grateful mood, despite its being February 14. In the elevator on the way back from an invigorating walk with my dog, the condo’s maintenance man, Rafael, wished me a Happy Valentines Day. That was sweet, I thought, and thanked him.
But then, he continued:
Rafael: Are you going to be with your family tonight?
Rafael: What? (his voice rising) Don’t you have any family?
Mercifully, the elevator door opened, and as I disappeared into the hallway, I said, “I’ll be with my dog tonight. She’s family.”
Illustration by Marie-Helene Jeeves