[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen my father first died, I wouldn’t come out of my room for nearly three weeks. I stayed locked inside. I laid on my bed and stared at the ceiling. I did a lot of crying, and listening to Daddy’s records. Hank Williams, and the immortal George Jones.
After a month of this, my mother decided it was time for me to join the human race. One October day, my mother pounded on my door.
I didn’t answer.
“Please open the door, honey,” she said.
Still no answer.
“I have a present for you.”
She knew how to get my attention.
When I opened the door, my mother was cradling something in her arms. Something furry, only three pounds. It was pitch black with tan patches.
I named her Hannah.
I wish I could tell you all about Hannah, but there’s too much to say. I wouldn’t be able to find the right words. I can’t describe how she followed me in the woods when I’d attempt to hunt dove. Or how she’d lead the way back when I returned empty-handed. About how Hannah sat by my feet while I fished, eating my earthworms like spaghetti. How she hated fetch, peed like a weirdo, or slept with her head in the crook of my armpit.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you how she hated to see my cry, how she’d lick me until I laughed, or how her breath smelled like the wrong side of a goat. Neither can I tell you how it grieved me when she finally went deaf and blind. Or how blurry my eyes were when I dug her grave.
I’m sorry, I just can’t seem to find the words.
Illustration by Marie Antonelli