Early in the morning when I wake up the first sensation I feel is the warmth of her fur at my feet. Half-asleep I brush my feet against her as if it were some doormat. That wakes her up and she begins to lick my feet as if she knew I was already late for work and Mom was no longer there to wake me up. She was a pup when I brought her in on a rainy day, all drenched and whining, a small bruise on her left hind leg. I had taken pity on her thinking she would be a wonderful company for my aged mother who had to stay back all alone in our cramped apartment while I had to go to work. Soon she was cleaned and dried and fed. I can still recall how apologetic and grateful the look in her eyes was when she came to my feet and licked it. Now I sit up in bed and pat her head, the look hasn’t changed much, the twinkle is still bright.
As I hurriedly finish my daily chores and get ready for work, she comes and woofs at me. Oh! Her breakfast, I keep forgetting. How I wish Mom was around to help me with all the work. Suddenly this nostalgic feeling envelops me. I sit down and pick her up. I wrap my arms around her and the tears just start flowing. She licks up my tears and makes that friendly “it’s alright” slight bark of hers. It’s been over a month, but I still can’t deal with it.
Both of these females were such an integral part of my life. They had given me the love I so desperately needed. One had loved me my whole life and the other has loved me from the day we met. Even if their love has spanned different times, it is invaluable to me, for time cannot measure true love. But time can surely take away this love. It has snatched one from mine. I dread the day when it’ll steal the other.
I return from work. The streetlamp’s glow seems warm in the freezing winter evening. I reach my apartment building and soon I hear her barking loudly from our balcony on the fifth floor. It is still a mystery to me how she recognizes me from such a distance. But I feel much better to hear her welcoming bark. Even if mother cannot open the door and offer me a warm cup of tea, the welcome that I get from my dog will suffice. I keep trying to make the best of it.
My life has been thoroughly disrupted. Losing someone you love is never easy. But neglecting the ones that still remain is even worse a guilt to live with. When she eagerly jumps up on me, resting her paws ever so gently on my thighs, I feel bad for leaving her alone in the apartment at the hands of the recently hired caretaker, a stranger to her. Mom loved her dearly. And she loved her back. Even if she misses her, she never mourns her in front of me. The caretaker tells me how down she stays the whole day. It’s hard to believe looking at her prancing now. It must be even hard for her to stay strong for me. I feel as if mother gave way a part of her love to her before leaving us. But she forgot to give me some.
I pick her up and hug her tight. The world becomes black as I close my eyes and burst into tears.