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Dear Maisy

I remember how fourteen months ago life was good, You and I just a part of it. I remember the summer nights were long and the morning sun was strong. I remember waking up just at the peak of day wishing that life could stay the same way as it was just a year before, when nothing seemed impossible. That death and cancer didn’t exist at all not in a world where you and I existed. I remember thinking you would always be there when I came home after school, waiting for a pet on the head or a tummy rub.
I remember walking past you thinking you were just a dog. That nothing was more important than Facebook and people I haven’t talked to in months. I could have thought something different. Just one pet on the head would that have made a difference? I could have made an effort. Like the one you made to stick around with me through thick and thin, through every new leg brace, through every new scab on my knee when we would walk.
But of course, I didn't have that determination to give to you the same unconditional love that you had for me all these years.
Because you were just a dog and you wouldn’t know the difference.
This went on for a while until one day you didn’t greet me at the door. I found you in the kitchen with a look in your eyes I’ve never seen before. I found out what was wrong with you in the shape of a bump on your side, and I brushed it off as a bug bite one that packed a punch. Until the bump appeared on your stomach and I couldn't ignore it anymore. I remember thinking that you would pull through; that you would be the same old you. The one who loved to fetch the ball and run after the bread I threw. But I knew it was a matter of time before it ran out like sand in an hour glass all good things must end. Even relationships between a girl and her dog, must end. And from that day on, I promised never to take you for granted. I promised to God above that if he granted me some more time, I would make you the object of my attention.
Despite old age and pain you couldn't say you were in, we managed. I remember walking with you every night, despite the time you wanted to go, so how could I say no? You seemed to enjoy those walks when the owls were just waking up and the frogs were singing a melody of summer bells. When the wind would blow you breathed in the deepest. Like you could taste the coming rain. It was during those walks that I wondered what you though if you knew just how much I loved you? So how could I for all of these years think you were just a dog? My trusty stead that used to let my Barbie dolls ride safely on your back or the dog who used to hide under my bed with me during a particularly nasty thunderstorm, or during the fourth of July when the noise was to much.
For a while I thought you were fine when you were your old self again. Playing ball, rolling over just like the Maisy I knew. You were playful and loving and obviously not just a dog. But I was wrong. And another bump appeared right on your tummy. And soon you would be departed. I wonder what you thought when you heard me say, Your just a dog. Do you know how much I regret that? That there isn’t a day where I don’t think about you?

When you could barely move some days, I brought you your food and fed you piece by piece so you would eat. You would lick my fingers to find the crumbs and then you'd lay right back down on the cold tile floor, as if you wished you could do nothing more than sleep. And when I could, I brought you bread and you ate that until you fell asleep. Often I watched you as you slumbered on the cool kitchen floor, and only then did you look at peace. And I knew time was getting short. Like an hour glass our sand was falling, way too fast, grain by grain through the tiny crevice in the glass, that had seemed so full all these years
I remember wanting to stop time just for a little while because I couldn't stop thinking about when you are gone .
Who would I walk? Who would wait for me after school? Who would share the other side of that peanut butter sandwich? Who would fill your space? When you are gone .
So tell me now, future self, was she just a dog?

I remember waking up in the middle of the night to hear you whimper. I'd sneak out of my room and the clock would catch me. Tick. Tick. Tick. Stop. Stop. Stop. And I'd want to run back to my room but I couldn't because you needed me. Your tail would thump when I'd open the gate and I couldn't believe you still wanted to see me. Hadn't I abandoned you all these years? Always saying you were just a dog? But it didn't matter because you never abandoned me.
Not once. Not when I needed you or when I needed someone to listen. Back then You weren't just a dog.
So I'd stay until you fell asleep. And I'd lay right next to you like I used too. And some nights I'd just sit there and wonder where did the time go? Why did you get so sick so fast?
How much more could this last? When I wanted you to be out of pain, but I couldn't bare to lose you?
Who would I love? Who would be there? Who would need me? When you are gone.
Why were you just a dog?

On the days it would rain and the thunder would boom, I would roll the ball to you and you would stare at it. It used to be your favorite, don't you remember? You, me and the ball used to play for hours at a time in the backyard. Until it would get so dark the ball would be lost in the grass and you would be the one to retrieve it. But that was long ago in a past that used to be easier. I remember that you used to hate fireworks and I hated it too because it would scare you. I remember so many things we used to do instead of watching all those lights in the sky. You would protect me from the bad things in the closet when I was little. And I would protect you from the loud noises. It was what made us a team defending each other as only dog and girl could.
But that was when you weren't just a dog. You were everything to me back then. When the bullies would say things, you were my laughter, my joy, my shoulder to cry on. But things changed as I got older, and you were always there and I never was. You’d wait by the gate in the kitchen and watch me on Facebook reading other people’s messages while you just longed for some of my attention.

When it got worse and you couldn't eat, I knew time was about to close. I wasn't ready to say good-bye but I just couldn't let you suffer. So I took you for one last ride. I loaded up the wagon because you could no longer walk, and pulled you all around the neighborhood. I remember thinking how I would need you.
How I couldn't let you go. How I wish I would have been a better friend.
But I remembered to, how I thought you were just a dog. Something that would be there always, something that death had no hold on. You would blame me if I said I was naïve?

And on that last day, I took you down and I promised I would stay. Tears slid down my cheeks and you just stared at me. I wondered what went through your mind but then again I just don't want to know. As you breathed in and out those last few times each breath quieter then the last, I whispered in your ear,
"You were never just a dog."
So here I am a year later thinking of you and wondering if you ever think of me and just how wrong I was about you. You were never just a dog, but I bet you already knew that.
Love,
Itty Bitty




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