My One Good Friend

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At the young age of seven, I didn’t have many friends. My one good friend was my dog, a Chocolate Labrador Retriever. We named him Hershey, very fitting. He had hip and knee dysplasia in both back legs. We had to put him down.
I sat stubbornly in the middle seat of my mom’s maroon minivan with my best friend’s head in my lap, eyes pleading with me not to let him go. Tears welled up in my sad brown eyes as I stared into the loving eyes I had known for so long. My mom was almost yelling at me to hide her own sadness and fear. She told me to get out of the car. I just held on tighter to my big brown dog. He was my life and happiness. That was all going to change now.
My grandma came out to see what was taking me so long to say goodbye. After all, to her, it was only a dog. I cradled Hershey’s big head in my seven-year-old arms. I grabbed around his neck and hugged as tight as I possibly could without suffocating him. I could distinctly smell the rain through the open door, like an omen. My life would be darker from the point I let go of my best friend.
I just hugged him tighter, feeling his warmth. How many times had I lost myself in it when the heater was broken in the dead of winter? Curled up with my warmest blanket next to him? Even leaned on him when I broke my ankle and my parents were nowhere to be found?
I buried my red, tear-stained face in his soft fur, running my hands through it one last time. I pulled away and let him lick my face to his heart’s content, for once not caring what my mom said about it. It was even like he knew what was about to happen. He sat up on his hind legs, even if it hurt him greatly, and put his front paws around my small form. He even put his big head on my shoulder. I could feel his weight almost hurting me, but I didn’t care. I hugged him like my life depended on it.
My grandpa came out now. He went to pick me up. I planted a big, wet kiss right on Hershey’s nose and hugged him once more. I could feel what felt like parts of my soul leaving my body with each salty tear that fell onto his rich, chocolate fur, causing it to become darker in color. I told him I loved him more than the air I breathed and let my grandpa carry me away towards the house. My mom closed the door. My last, fleeting look at his sad face would haunt me until the day I died. His eyes showed raw betrayal—betrayal on my part for leaving him to die without me by his side, like he was by mine from the day my parents brought me home from the hospital.
They say friendship is a beautiful thing. I now know the reality of it: No matter how attached you are to your best friend, a split-up is inevitable in the future. No one can change that. Friendship is far from beautiful.





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