If you knew Wilson, you would wish he was your dog. Never could you have met a dog so friendly and playful, yet so intelligent and obedient. I think that’s why it hurt so much when my mom told me we had to give him up.
Even though I knew he would still be in the family because we were giving him to my Aunt and her kids, I wished he would always be mine. My mom, sisters, and I pulled up to my Aunt’s house with Wilson barking in the back.
“I need you girls to be strong, okay? Try not to cry. We don’t want to make Wilson sad or afraid,” my mom stated, although, it seemed like an impossible request. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to hold back the tears if they came.
Before we walked out of my Aunt’s house, my dog and I locked eyes one last time. His eyes were young and confused. He didn’t know that I was not going to be his owner anymore. But I knew. I felt sad that I was about to be deprived of one of the most friendly and intelligent creatures I had ever known, but strangely, there were no tears to hold back. I ran my hands through his soft fur one last time. I tried hard to savor it.
“Goodbye, Wilson,” I said, my voice sounding hoarse and dry. “Be a good boy.”
My mom, tears flowing down her cheeks, shut the door behind us with a soft click. We walked to our car, the cold, slushy snow squelching beneath our boots. Somehow, I felt like my heart was being squashed and compressed, too, just like the snow.
The drive home was not how I expected it to go for me. My sisters and my mom did not have one dry eye the whole way home. Strangely, I felt nothing. I just felt like someone had punched a clean hole straight through my gut so that I suddenly became hollow. In the background, my mother was trying to comfort my wailing sisters, but I heard none of it.
“I’m so sorry girls,” my mom sobbed, though it seemed like her voice was distant and far away. “I know it hurts but you were the best owners Wilson could have ever had. After this is over, you will have only happy memories of him, I promise.”
I stared down the highway as if it were endless. It felt as though the world was moving too fast, so fast that, no matter how quickly our car moved, we could not catch up with it. The sky was bright blue and the clouds were fluffy and white, but the air was cold and it burned my cheeks. I still felt nothing.
The car crunched into our garage, trailing in the cold, gray slush behind it. My sisters and mom slowly struggled to get out of the car. I stepped out of the passenger’s seat and onto the cold cement. I was about to step inside our house when a warm, salty feeling formed in my nose and my eyes. My heart dropped to the ground and I felt everything. My first tear dripped onto my hand. My mom saw me in my paralyzed state and took me into her arms. The tears started to pour out like waterfalls, soaking the cement around me. My mom and I stood there and cried together.
“I miss him,” I cried. Those were the only words I could muster between the salty swells of tears.
When the tears finally dried up, I didn’t feel any less sad, but I felt less hollow. Somehow, I knew Wilson would always be with me, no matter what I felt.