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To Redd, With Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It won't happen in a day. For months, we will watch as you leave us. Your legs will start to shake under a weight too heavy to carry (shrinking bones protruding from luscious fur). Your strong, threaded muscles will slowly disappear (where will they go?). The food you once swallowed so voraciously will sit stale and untouched in that cold metal bowl.

We will watch as that sparkling light (of life, vitality) leaves your eyes. You will grow infinitely old when the puppy comes (or will we just notice then?). Discreetly, you will stop playing. No more barking laughter as Dad twists you around in his arms. You will trade that spirit for lying exhausted on the wood floor, in the grass, on the bed.

You will still smile for her. She will make you light up in the way that none of us can. We will crave your grins, so innocent and comforting, even as pain tinges your eyes. We will know that it's coming soon, but in those blissful smiles you will still be with us.

I will remember that night (warm and wet, something already missing). The night when we will know. We'll rush you outside, body still choking, jolting on a carrot (you loved those). We'll stand at the windows as you sink deeper into the grass (sink away from us).

It won't happen in a day. But it will only take one to realize that you're already gone.

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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