Camp 9

June 4, 2009
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Camp 9

My face is pressed into his fur, the bristles stifling my cries. The silky fur coat now wet with my salty tears. Each second lasted a year. My mother’s words swimming in my head, “We are going to put him down.” Those seven words tearing away at my heart. I had known Noah for most of my early childhood. Our first experience together sealed our relationship.

The grass felt soft under my young feet, as I ran with my friends. I remember Noah tied up on the old beaten wooden sign, the writing weathered from countless rain storms, “Camp 9”. Just sitting there silently, obediently. Then his face broke out into a grin, his tongue flopping out of his mouth as he happily raced over to me. His feet pounded on the ground as his pace got faster, he leaped. Out stretched he flew for me, I ran. But I was too late, his front teeth sealed onto my left cheek. His joyful face was distorted as I erupted in tears. His playful joke was not so funny to an eight year old.

Tonight’s tears are worse. They sting and hurt. My vision is distorted and I feel this deep burn in my heart. Noah is just lying there. He faced pressed into the rug, gravity obviously took a greater toll on him. He could no longer control his bowels. Everything started slipping away, slowly getting further and further out of his grasp. Running became an exercise no longer fun. His body no longer pulsed with movement; but was an empty hollow frame that moved only out of habit. The lifeless eyes became more distant. His old body was beaten and worn from warm fields and cold concrete. I desperately wanted the lifeless body to fill with energy again. Knowing that it will never happen I want to enjoy every moment with him.

For fifteen minutes I sat with him. My hand ran through his soft, deep, mahogany fur. And I recalled past times. I couldn’t cry anymore, nothing came out. I felt pitiful, he was always there for me and all I could do was cry for ten minutes. I owed him more than that. I decided to bring him up to my room. His old body rusty without use, creaked as it ascended the staircase. Making the last step his face became brighter; his weak smile shown through his rickety frame. I hauled him onto my bed and he collapsed, his eyes becoming dull once again as he took his place on my bed.

As he lay on my downy oak comforter I searched for my pajamas, his watchful eyes darting around my room. Throwing on an old pair of gym shorts I climbed in bed. I flicked the lights suddenly shrouding the room in darkness, his once bright almond eyes now black. Thinking I might not see those eyes again I turned on the light, now just dimming it. I didn’t want to be without him ever again. I pulled his frail body close and started to talk to him. Anything I could do to keep him close. I talked about anything and everything. I told him about how I had a crush on girl and how I was too afraid to talk to her. The light never went off, he must stay with me.

That night I told Noah everything. My whispers lasted past one in the morning, my soft feeble voice only able to reach his ears before dispersing. I fell asleep listening to his hoarse breaths, uneven and reassuring.





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