I had a dog, once. For all the world, she resembled a Pomeranian, and she was a dead ringer for the runner-up at Westminster. I bought her for five dollars. Had it not been for a Chow two generations back, she would have been what they consider “pure”, and could have easily been sold for several thousand. This one stud was a blip in her standard, a dead fly in a glass of champagne.
Last week, she appeared on my doorstep, quite obviously dead. There was no note, no notice of someone taking responsibility, and certainly no trace of where her head went. It was a bit of a mess, and the cleanup took longer than I had anticipated. I still hadn’t, still haven’t recovered from my last loss.
And tonight, I’m kneeling inside her doghouse. I haven’t been inside it since we first built it. For the first time, I can see just how badly warped the inside was. The urine smell has soaked deep into the wood and I can only imagine how bad the smell would be if it were fresh. I can’t help but feel like I let that little girl down, by allowing her home to fall into such disarray. The carpet of her house is brown. The grass is dead. My dog is dead. My father is
The wood gives a little with the force of my punch, leaving the smallest of cracks in the back portion of the house. My knuckles take the worst of it, and the pain shoots up my arm like fire. The middle knuckle has split open, and is dripping blood down my middle finger. I try to hold it in, but I’ve finally hit my limit. Like a dam finally bursting, the tears come.
“Goddammit,” I spit. And suddenly I realize that I’m on my knees, my head hung low, hands clasped together. For all its venom, my curse looks like a prayer, offered in reverence in this low-ceiling sanctuary that smells of dog piss. I can’t help but laugh. I’m a child again, snotty and red-eyed, praying for the world to make sense again. Those were the times that my father would come in, and lay one of his hands on my shoulder. His hands were huge, but even as a child I welcomed his touch.
“I miss you so much, Dad.”
When it starts to rain, nobody calls me inside.