hotcheetos By hotcheetos, 30th May 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

A short story from the past that still haunts me to this day. I guess there are some things we never really get over.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Seneca said, "My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or my heart, concealing it, will break."

Have you ever held something you love in your arms while it breathes its last breath?
I have.
I left work early, got Buddy, and drove to the veterinarian’s office. I held him in the waiting room while I waited to see the vet. He lay limp in my arms, not moving.
There was an older woman sitting in the waiting room with a small dog on her lap. She looked at me as I stood there holding Buddy. She noticed he wasn't moving.
"Is he very sick?" she asked.
I looked at her.
"No," I said. "He's just very old."
"Oh," she said.
I had been dwelling on it all day at work. It was eating me up from the inside out. All I could think about were my feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness.
Buddy, the family dog of 16 years, had become so old he could no longer see, hear or get around. He was suffering and I could no longer stand to see him in so much pain.
Dr. Cash called me into the examining room. She explained to me exactly what was about to happen. First, she would give Buddy a shot to knock him out. Sedate him so he wouldn't feel anything. Then she would come in with a second shot which would put him to sleep, permanently.
She placed him on a blanket, gave him the first shot and left the room. I held him while he slowly fell asleep. I could hear his breathing start to slow. After a few moments he was completely limp, sleeping and breathing quietly. Soon, she came back into the room. She had a syringe filled with some sort of pink liquid.
She shaved a small area on his front leg so she could see a vein. She stuck the shot in his leg and slowly pushed the plunger down. When she was done I held him again and she placed a stethoscope to his chest and listened.
I kept thinking, somehow, some way, I could keep him alive; hold his life or spirit or whatever in his body. If I could just hold on tight enough it wouldn't be able to get away. It wouldn't be able to escape. It wouldn’t be able to leave his body. I could feel my eyes burning with tears.
Dr. Cash looked at me.
"He's gone," she said. "Do you want us to put him in a box for you?"
I said yes. Her assistant brought in a box. They wrapped him in the blanket and carefully placed him in the box. His eyes were slightly open and his mouth was slightly open, too.
Her assistant carried the box out to my truck as I stood at the front counter and paid them.
Did you know they charge you by the pound? Kind of like buying a roast or something. I didn't find it funny at all.
The older woman, who was still sitting in the waiting room holding her dog, said, "I'm sorry for your loss."
I was barely able to croak out a "thank you" for her kind words of sympathy.
I left. As I walked out to my truck I noticed the day, which was so hot and bright and sunny before, had suddenly dimmed. The colors, the heat, everything, felt muted.
It had ended so quietly and quickly. He made no sound. One moment he was alive and then he was gone. Just like that, it was over. After 16 years it felt so anticlimactic. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I drove to the babysitter and picked up my son. I told him on the way home about Buddy. As I spoke I could feel this knot of emotion in my throat. It was right where my neck connects with my shoulders. My son was upset but he didn't start crying until we got home and he asked if he could look in the box at Buddy. I told him he could. He reached in the box and touched him. I had been crying off and on since leaving the vet's office.
After changing out of my work clothes I went to the storage shed and got a shovel. I had already picked out the spot where I was going to bury him. It was beneath a large tree, where the grave would be in the shade. The ground was hard and full of roots. It took me a good hour to dig a hole big enough for his small body. The whole time I was crying, and sweating, and cursing. The sweat was burning my eyes. I could feel this hate, toward her, my ex. She was the one who had put me in this position.
Sixteen fucking years, I kept thinking, sixteen, sixteen years, is this what you get in the end? Buried in a fucking dirt hole in the backyard?
I went in the house and got Buddy. My son followed me outside. He sat on the ground and cried as I placed Buddy into the hole. I made sure he was wrapped up in the blanket so no dirt would get on his body. Especially his face, which seemed somehow very important.
As I began to cover his body with dirt my son began to cry harder which only made me cry harder. I couldn’t see what I was doing because of all the tears and sweat in my eyes.
When I was done, I put the shovel back in the shed and hugged my son. I told him I was sorry. He said it wasn't my fault. Somehow, it felt like it was my fault, all of it. As I was covering him, I felt as though I was secretly disposing of the evidence to some horrible crime.
We went in the house. I was hot, sweaty, angry and emotionally drained. I went upstairs to take a shower.
At the vet's office, when I was holding Buddy and I knew his life was slowly ending, I wondered if he really had a soul.
Do animals have souls? Was he having one of those out of body experiences where he was floating above himself and seeing me, the vet and the examining room? What were his final thoughts on the whole thing? If any.
I like to think he had a soul and, somewhere, right now, he's waiting.
He is napping on a couch in the warm slanting rays of a late afternoon sun and I'll come through the front door and walk over to him and pat his head and he will look up at me with those expressive dark brown eyes.
"Hey old friend," I'll say, "I missed you."
Later, I could feel his absence in the house and it broke my heart all over again.


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11th Feb 2019 (#)

I have more poems at Google Blogger - Unclefod

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