You were cold when I touched you that one last time. I remember seeing you lay there, melting against the soft (or at least, I hope they were) paper crumbs, looking a little like a fallen soldier during war. Sure, you didn’t carry a rifle or a helmet like the rest of the boys, but with all those months and all those battles and all those goddamned scars… you didn’t have to.
My poor baby.
I miss you very much. When I’d entered my room, I expected to see you struggling with the white handkerchief, that makeshift blanket or bed or nesting place or whatever it is you called it, trying to get comfortable like you always do.
I keep forgetting, you know. This is the first time I’ve lost something so dear to me, and I’m sure you know that I don’t like remembering bad things. I always stuff them into that bottle, the one I’d sigh at before tucking under my bed. It scares the monsters away, I think. Sometimes the scariest things don’t have sharp teeth or claws or blood-red slits for eyes, I bet the Boogeyman probably cowered in fear when he first saw them too, all bunched up in a cheap $2-bottle that I’d gotten from Daiso some time last year.
I still don’t know if you’ve ever thought that this was a good idea, to be honest. I only know that you hear the soft whimpers that escape me when tightening the lid gets difficult every now and then. You never said anything, but you would kiss my hand when I reach out to you. “It’s not like you understand,” I remember sighing, “but thank you anyway. This feels nice.”
Can you hear me now, though?
It all happened so fast. Mom cut a small piece of white cloth for us to wrap your little body with, and I couldn’t stop myself from stroking you as we all made our way down. It felt weird not having you lick my finger in response, you were just a tiny, exhausted little thing in a really deep sleep.
I still feel sad. And I feel so guilty. Maybe it could’ve been avoided, maybe it was all my fault for not trying hard enough, but maybe it was his fault for springing you onto me when I clearly wasn’t ready, but then maybe if I wasn’t so busy with school and work and friends and jumping through fire hoops in this never-ending circus show we call Life—just maybe, you’d still be there.
You know. All snuggled up against the paper crumbs, a couple of sunflower seeds tucked under a paw, your tiny chest calmly rising and falling like the waves of the ocean at 6.31pm, when that huge orange blob decides that it has had enough of watching me squinting angrily in its direction.
I’m just so sorry.
Time is crazy. You were so strong, you fought so hard during those last few months. I kept telling you to just go but you were so stubborn, you’d still stagger your way to the pile of seeds, your hind leg lagging behind the rest of that tiny mass of fur. A wounded little soldier. I wish I could turn back the clock, or something cliché like that.
It’s getting less poetic, now that all the pent-up emotions are making their way down my cheeks and onto my neck. I don’t know. It feels so ridiculous, being sad over something so small—so small, so tiny and so frail. I remember feeling so excited when I first met you; I’m a sucker for Firsts and you are something I never thought I’d have, my first proper pet.
I don’t know, I keep forgetting.