Miss you, Dakota.

Taking the challenge from my teen’s awesomely talented Literature/Writing teacher 5000 Words – here’s a go at expanding on the dead dog from my last post.


She came bouncing into the room, jumped on my bed and began licking my nose.  My heart swelled with love as I reached out and snuggled my face into hers. Warmth flooded through me as I basked in the moment.  Sure, she still had that funky dog smell.  Maybe if I bathed her more – but I just couldn’t force myself to, knowing she would cower in the corner for hours after her bath.  I knew it was for her good – and my nose – but I hated putting her through it more often than absolutely necessary.

Dog smell and all, I loved her from the top of her head to the tip of her tail. We’d been through so much together in such a short time.  She was my confidant – I could tell her anything, knowing my secret was safe with her.   Many a time life’s problems seemed to work themselves out as we shared a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s.

She always sensed what I needed – and her antics continually brought a smile to my face. Daily, without fail, she would greet me at the door with a tail waging so hard it about turned her in circles. If I was down or sick she would just lay quietly at my feet. When I was happy – she knew that too, and would bounce  into my arms as if she were a teacup poodle instead of the German Shepherd mix she was.

As I was living those vivid memories, my mind began to stir, and the images began to fade. Confusion turned to realization as I struggled to grasp on to any remaining bits of reality left from my dream.  But they vanished out the open window, replaced with a steady stream of sunlight.  In that same instant, I could  feel the cold empty sheets around me- a stark reminder of the desolation in my heart.  I was alone.  I squeezed my eyes shut, desperate to return to my dream. But instead, the ache that had started minutes before in my toes grew until it squeezed my heart so tight all I could see was darkness. I have come to dread those moments between consciousness and unconsciousness.

Familiar tears leaked out of my eyes and down my cheeks until I was sobbing. Why did this have to happen? As the events replayed in my mind, there still were no answers. One moment she had a spunk on her step and a gleam in her eye, the next moment she was gone. The realization that her whiskers would never turn grey or her eyes shadow with cataracts left my heart feeling as if it would rip in two. As the sobs deepened, I heard the familiar sound of my alarm.

Glancing at my phone on the nightstand, I knew I needed to pull myself together or suffer another day of a throbbing headache from crying too hard.  My brain fought with my body, which laid curled up in the fetal position, desperate to stay in the safety and comfort of bed. Newton’s first law, I remind myself, the first step was always the hardest   If I could just get one of my lead-filled legs over the side of the bed the rest of the day would get better.



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