Forgiveness is Key

November 19, 2009
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Love is like the moon; sometimes it’s there, and sometimes it’s not. But like the moon, sometimes when you can’t see it, it really still is there. Even when the one you love has moved on…

As I laid in bed, hidden beneath the covers, I listened to feet shuffle along the cold, wooden floor, and the chirping of crickets just outside my open window. The smell of pancakes floated into my open bedroom door. My mouth began to water as I imagined forking the light, fluffy pancakes, with sweet maple syrup, into it. I felt my stomach suddenly rumbled. A sigh slowly escaped my mouth as I realize I needed to get up.

Swiftly, I flipped the covers off of me, and sat up simultaneously.

THUD! I fell back onto my pillow. My face was scrunched like a raisin, as I laid there, letting the pain sink in. Gradually, I opened my eyes to peer at what I hit. A giggle built up in me as I remembered that I slept in the bottom bed of my bunk bed.

Gently, I swung my legs over the edge of my bed, staying on my back to keep from hitting my head again, and I pulled myself out of my little cave. The smell of pancakes got stronger as I stood up. I tilted my head up, and closed my eyes. It entranced me as I ambled through the weaving halls of my house, towards the kitchen. My eyes languidly opened as I felt the cold linoleum on the bottoms of my feet.

Mother was standing at the stove with a flipper in her hand, and there was a plate, but a few feet from her, with a monstrous pile of pancakes on it. A cynical smile veered across my face.

Silently, I tiptoed across the kitchen floor lifting one leg at a time, making them almost reach my nose, and my arms were curled in front of me, like you’d see in a cartoon. Once I reached the counter I snaked my hand up the counter to the pancake plate. Suddenly, I snatched one of the pancakes and ran back the way I came. I could hear my mother’s elephant footsteps behind me. As I reached the hall in front of my door, I stopped running, and stuffed the pancake into my open mouth. Then I turned to face my mother.

She jumped over me and landed with flailing arms, to keep from running me over. When she caught her balance she saw me grinning at her with the pancake half hanging out of my mouth, and my hands laced behind my back, making me look as if I were innocent.

Mother ripped the last of the pancake out of my mouth, “Get ready for school. You’re not getting any pancakes.” She stomped back to the kitchen. My eyes watered as I got dressed, and headed out to the front porch.

As I shut the front door behind myself, I tripped over my half tied shoelaces, and fell onto my hands and knees. Then hot breath and sticky slime was all over my face. I fell onto my back and laid there giggling trying to push my dog off of me. “Riggs, get down!” I blurted out between laughs. He backed off immediately.

I sat up and looked at him with a cocked head. Riggs was sitting on his hind legs, looking like a soldier at attention. His squished face looked like it was pouting at me for making him get off of me.
“Oh, come here boy!” Riggs’ tongue rolled out of his mouth as a smile grew across his face. He launched himself at me, knocking me over, and started licking me all over again. I closed my eyes to keep from getting slobber in them.

Then the licking was gone. There was no more hot breath on my skin. I sat up, and saw Riggs on the edge of the porch, facing three monstrous dogs. All of them were barking, drool was dripping from their snarling mouths, and their legs were bent as if they were ready to attack.

“Riggs, no!” I cried, as he lunged at the other dogs. They all started running across the yard for the street. I got to my feet and chased after them. The dogs all continued to bark as they ran from Riggs and I. Riggs stopped in the middle of the road and continued to bark at the other dogs as they ran off.

I stopped running once I was a few feet from the road.

“Come here, boy,” I croaked, as I patted my leg. “Come here.” He continued to stand in the middle of the road barking at the three dogs that were now fading in the distance. “Riggs!” I cried one last time, inching towards the edge of the road. I glanced down at the heated pavement, as I took my first step onto it. My instincts told me I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing, but I wanted to get Riggs; he wasn’t coming when I called him.

Suddenly, it seemed as if everything were in slow motion. A blur of silver slowly came in and out of my vision, and a gust of wind blew my hair into a whirl above my head. It blinded me momentarily. I felt drops of water hit my face, as if it were raining, but there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

When my hair finally settled, silence overwhelmed the world. No crickets were chirping; no dogs were barking. Nothing made a noise. It seemed as if time had stopped.

A copper smell invaded my senses. It was so strong I could taste it on my tongue. My nose scrunched in disgust.
Silently, I peered around to find my dearest Riggs. My eyes stopped as I saw him lying still on the road. His light blonde fur was dark red. There was a pool all around him.
Tears welled in my eyes as I walked closer to him. My feet felt like they had lead weights on them. I knelt down beside him and stroked his fur. The dark red smeared onto my hand.
“Alexis! Get away from there!” my mother screamed from the porch. I turned towards her, with my bloody hand upturned. Mother saw the drops of blood on my face, and the beating red on my hand.
I looked at her and cried, “It’s all my fault.”
I loved Riggs more than I loved my own mother. He protected me whenever I was doing something stupid, and whenever I got into trouble. Riggs was always there for me. For years, I blamed myself for his death because I couldn’t get him out of the road soon enough. But someone special to me asked me a question, that made me forgive myself. That special someone asked: if I had been the one to have died that day, would I want my friends and family to blame themselves for my death for the rest of their lives? My answer was no. I’d want them to move on, and live their lives. I was taught to forgive myself, and that what had happened couldn’t be changed. Riggs died doing something right. Protecting someone he loved.

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