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Puppies and Lost Innocence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It's Saturday and my parents' friends are having an anniversary dinner, so I'm staying home with my little brother, Murillo. It seems like a normal night at home. I'm on the computer looking at MySpace and Facebook while Murillo watches TV in the living room.

He comes in, his usual curious self, and asks, “What are you doing?”

“I don't know. Using the computer.”

“Oh.”

“What do you want?”

“Nothing. I'm bored.”

“Let's watch a movie.”

“Okay.”

I settle in on the couch while Murillo jumps around reenacting “X-Men.” I tell him to relax and pick a movie. As we're scrolling the down the screen, viewing the choices, Murillo see the word dog and decrees that as our night's cinematic entertainment.

I make the selection, and “My Dog, Skip” begins. Murillo is immediately intrigued with the young boy and his playful puppy. At the end of their adventures, the dog in his simplicity teaches the boy life lessons. Little did I know, Murillo would do the same for me that night.

As the movie comes to an end, the boy, now a young man, is leaving for college and his loyal friend stands watching him get on the bus. I glance at Murillo. His little heart is overwhelmed at the scene, and his eyes fill with tears. He begins to cry as if it was the first time he ever cried.

He asks why the dog died and all I can come up with is that everyone and everything dies eventually. His dismay grows. He asks when I will die, and Mom and Dad, and himself. I have no idea what to say.

I haven't thought about death for a long time. And somehow through Murillo's rudimentary grasp of the idea, I feel the terrible fear of it again. Not that I ever lost it; I just forgot its inevitability. Sadly, Murillo has just realized that life doesn't last forever. That night my brother left behind his childlike innocence and embraced the reality that everything in this world does and will end. And that, simply put, broke my heart.

Why is it in childhood we wish time to pass so quickly – we want to grow up so fast – yet as adults we wish just the opposite? We let go of our small ambitions to do things like climb a tree or ride a bike. Why do we trade those joyful dreams for hopes of mortgages and coffee breaks? We replace our wonder and amazement with countless responsibilities and endless taxes. Our mountains whittle into hills while our roads to Calcutta lead only to dirty backyard paths.

I left my childhood back in an apartment on Pauline Street years ago, and ironically I moved back there this past month. I walked in so much taller. I scaled the walls where I once imagined being Spider-Man and showered in the stall where I one day sang my loudest. The roof got lower and I can now reach the top of the refrigerator, but that's okay. Murillo taught me that today. He showed me that life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. Failing to do so is a kind of death.

I hope Murillo continues to shock me with his pure moments of wisdom. I hope he continues to show me that I worry too much and that I forget to breathe throughout the day. I want to see the world through new eyes again. I want to live in his garden where colors are brighter and the air is softer, and each morning is more fragrant than the one before.

Murillo taught me today that if you can somehow carry your childhood with you, you'll never really grow old. Time isn't forever; he and I both know that now. But to live life with the same amazement as a child is a goal that I will keep in my heart as long as I can.

It's never too late to let go of our coffee breaks and follow the road to Calcutta, to cry for a puppy's life or try to climb a tree back to the place we once knew. I hope one day you find that place too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Petrus D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 25, 2009 at 11:58 am
You're very welcome! And thank you so much for reading my article. Your movie is very heart-warming, it's a favorite of mine.
 
Dogskip said...
Sept. 18, 2009 at 10:06 am
As the director of the film, "My Dog Skip," I was very pleased to happen upon your thoughtful, well written piece. The sort of discussion and thoughts you had about it afterward, was exactly my intent and I am so pleased the film inspired you to put your experience down in words. Thank you!
 
Petrus D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 25, 2009 at 12:00 pm
You're very welcome! And thank you so much for reading my article. Your movie is very heart-warming, it's a favorite of mine.
 
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