Pirate in the Ether

Pirate Says Good Morning

I met Pirate when I pivoted from the front of the house to the back. Which is to say, from the fancy life, in heels and dresses, to worker, where my uniform was blood-soaked aprons and scalded hands — trophies of mozzarella making. 

Pirate took to me immediately. He was the mascot in the staff meal kitchen where my new meat and cheese program was located. My team and I fed the staff, butchered the farm’s pigs, cows, and chickens, and made upwards of 80 liters of milk a day into cheese. There were lots of scraps. What was there for a dog not to love? I resolved immediately not to adopt him. He was loud, demanding, needy and slimy. He was not underweight; everyone in the dorm fed him, and I did not need another dog. 

But Pirate was insistent; I would love him! I would feed him! And eventually, I would take him home. When my part in the program ended, I couldn’t leave him there, aging and half-blind. 

We came home together on the last day of October 2021, never to return to desarollo kitchens, his home of many years and where I had placed my heart for the last three. He was immediately at home in his new surroundings. I was desolate. My cheese cave was my happy place, but I was consoled to have Pirate with me. Also, just two months earlier, my partner of 24 years, Felipe, told me he no longer wanted to be with me. He wasn’t sure when he would leave, but he would indeed go. It wasn’t a surprise; we had been struggling to find a shared path for years. In February, we separated. And though by that time, it was mostly a mutual decision, I don’t have words for how painful it was. I will avoid revisiting that with an explanation. What I am here to share with you is what my relationship with Pirate became.

Twice a day, I walk my dogs on a beautiful forest path. Pirate, of course, went with my other two dogs and me, though he was slower because of his blindness. He also didn’t like to climb the stairs to my apartment. He lived on the first floor and spent a lot of time alone. I wanted to give him some special time every day, so at the end of each walk, I would sit with Pirate and sing him a song. For the first several weeks after Felipe left, I chose Goodbye, by LP, an empowering break-up anthem. Pirate would enter the gate and stand and howl, waiting for me to sit down with him, play his song, and sing. He pressed his body into me, and many, many days, I cried into him, unable to sing. He pressed harder. 

After several months I was able to sing, and I changed the repertoire to Everything Matters by Aurora. I love to sing and have a decent voice. When I started trying to sing this song, my voice cracked. Though it was well within my range, I couldn’t hit the high notes. It sounded awful.

 I realized, sitting there with Pirate, how profound this loss was. Not only was my range gone, I had silenced myself trying to please people, and hold onto things that no longer served me to maintain my sense of security. I loved these things, my marriage, my project, but with attachment, not freedom, the place that real love comes from. I sang on through tears, croaking and sometimes hitting the notes with deep satisfaction. Pirate appreciated it when I sounded great or ghastly. 

In July, Pirate died, and I was pissed! Seriously, universe! I’ve lost my partner, job, and dog in less than a year! No fair! I sat with Pirate through his last hours; I sang to him with all my gratitude and hit every note except the ones muffled by tears. I let him go, and I helped him leave because it was what was best for him. 

Dogs are magic. They come into your life and give you what others cannot, what you can not yet give yourself. They show you it’s possible. Thank you for giving my voice back, Pirate. You were a very good dog

In August, I bought my first car (yes, my first car at 56 years old). It’s a beast, kinda stinky (it’s diesel), and worn, but powerful and reliable. I named it Pirate. I feel so free behind the wheel, belting out Everything Matters to Pirate in the ether.

For my long-time readers– Felipe and I separated amicably. He is still the superman you have read about here over the years. The nature of this blog will change without him, but I will still be writing about living in Nicaragua, and the complexities of the simple life. Though I don’t feel this way at every moment, life is still very simple, very easy, and very good.

This entry was posted in expatriate life, marriage, Nicaragua, Uncategorized and tagged , by vsvevg. Bookmark the permalink.

About vsvevg

Hello, I'm Abby Smith. I started this blog in 2010 to write about the pursuit of a self-sustainable life in rural Mexico. In 2015, my then-husband and I moved to Nicaragua, where we created a successful farm-to-table and in-house charcuterie program for a high-end beach resort. In 2022, with mad butchery and cheese-making skills under my belt, I started a sustainable food systems consulting business. Happily, I also have more time for my first love-- writing about food and the complexities of the simple life.

10 thoughts on “Pirate in the Ether

  1. Wow! You have a way with words. You masterfully summarized some amazing and life-changing and challenging experiences in a meaningful and beautifully-written vignette. I love Aurora and I think this might be my new favorite song by her. Dear Pirate… and all your losses, I imagine will become gains and your beautiful heart through it all…. Sending positive, simple vibes

  2. Pingback: Pirate in the Ether — from VSVEVG (very simple very easy very good) – Fiesta Estrellas

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