The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Unconditional Best Friend

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. -- Aristotle

March 2, 2009

Dear Daisy,

Today, I thought of you and I wept. I’m not sure what made me think of you. I was in the shower and thoughts of you filled my head. It made me weep even harder. I’ll never forget the last time I saw you. I held you in my arms as your warmth slowly faded. Your thick body grew slack as you exhaled one last time.

December 9, 2009.

It was the week of finals for me. I was beyond stressed, beyond any form of sanity. Two days ago I received the call that you were to be put to sleep. I shook my head in denial, the panic and frustration rising in my voice.

She has a bulge on the right side of her stomach that is making her sag. She won’t lay down cause of the pain. She must be put to sleep.

The ringing in my ears stayed with me for two days. I went home on Monday. I walked over to you and saw the tears in your eyes. I was afraid to touch you. To cause you more pain. I gently stroked the top of your head. I nuzzled your throat. Tears welled in my eyes as I saw the pain and discomfort you felt at sitting and trying to give me your paw. A trick I taught you when you were a pup. I wept knowing you will never do that again.

I had to return back to the chaos of college life, my friend. I didn’t want to abandon you, especially in your time of need. The guilt pierced through me and dragged me throughout the last week of school. I had to take my hardest test the day before. I had to turn in a final portfolio for another class. I sat with my professor and spoke about you. She was sympathetic and very understanding and she made me feel better. The next day, I went home. Not knowing what to expect, what to see, or what to believe.

I was sitting on the floor with you when I was told that she had arrived. My dad opened the door and a girl walks into the room. She looked to be no older than 21 years old. I gave my parents a look of disbelief. This girl looks like she is fresh from the dorms and she is going to be putting down my dog? Right away I didn’t like her. She appeared to be nice and friendly, yet I was skeptical of her capabilities. I kept a wary eye on her, while stroking you before your final moments.

I know we didn’t let you say goodbye to Brownie and Shadow, your playmates and companions. I felt the sadness and pain as I placed the muzzle over your nose. They whined and scratched at the door for you. I saw the tears in your eyes and I could no longer hold back mine. I held you down. I felt the quivering through your fur. You growled and tried to snap at me. I still held you down. The woman held a long needle in her hand. She pressed it into your skin.

It should take only a few seconds. She will then be unconscious and no longer feeling pain.

I should have been relieved. The pain would be gone. The misery would be over. You did not knock out after a few seconds or even a minute. You fought the drug. You refused to lie down quietly. You were not seduced by the effects of the medicine. You stood awake. The woman frowned. She prepared another shot.

She must be very alert right now. I will give her another dosage and she should go down.

She injected once more. I held my breath and waited. It took you another ten minutes to lie still. You gave into the drug and found peace.

The bulge that she has on her stomach is probably a mammary tumor. The reason why she probably has been panting so much is because the cancer might have spread to her lungs.

As I think back on that day, it feels surreal. I don’t know how it happened. I blink and you were a puppy small enough to fit into my hand. I blink twice and you were running with me through my childhood, playing with all the cousins and kids on our street. I blink three times and you were there for me in my times of need, when no one understood me but you. I blink one final time and I am carrying your remains into a truck where you were incinerated and become ash and dust.

Thank you for being with me always, my friend. You never left my side for fifteen years. I will always think fondly of you and remember the beautiful moments we shared.

Thank you for showing me unconditional love.

Yours Truly Forever,

Jennifer Ellspermann


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