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I remember being called down to the office in the middle of school.
I know what this is about.
My dog didn’t feel good last night, wouldn’t even touch the crescent of bread I gave him.
Max is in the back seat looking tired and worn.
There are two doors going inside the vet, one marking “CAT” and one “DOG”.
“Which one should Max go in?” Mom jokes.
“The middle one.”
Of course there really isn’t a middle one; I’m just trying to lighten the mood.
The veterinarians talk to my parents but I don’t listen.
I take in every characteristic of Max’s face.
They tell me it’s time to go.
Like always, I tap Max’s head two times and kiss it once.
The car ride home seems like a long one.
I remember when I first taught him how to sit at 14 years old and feeling victorious because I showed an old dog a new trick.
I remember when I got him to climb the ladder of the play set in my backyard.
I remember when I brought him inside and he peed on the flowers we still gave my relatives afterwards.
I remember when he fell in the hole when we were remodeling where the patio used to be and wondering how in the world he survived that.
I remember falling asleep with my head on his chest in the spring time.
I remember when I blew bubbles he would bounce right up and pop them.
I remember it all.
Dad goes back to work and I sit eating pink noodles with Mom, waiting for a call of good news.
That call comes.
I remember exactly where I was.
My mom came out and told me that my only true best friend was dead.
I remember the pain that automatically knocked me to the hard wood floor.
But what I can’t remember are the bad memories, because there weren’t any.