Still Innocent (For Rocky) [ficlet]

I can still hear the jingle of your collar, the click of your nails on the tile floor.

It has been three days since you left this world and I am still in shock, still trapped in the thick of this fog that won’t let anyone or anything in—not the television with its relentless talking heads, not the bills which are beginning to pile up on the mantle, not even my lover, who tries to console me by saying, (incredibly): “You can always get another dog.”

How do I explain to him the loss that remains, after your wet black nose and your earnest eyes are gone? And how do I even begin to fill this gaping hole in the middle of my chest? It may be invisible to others, but it’s there, and I can feel it with every breath. All I know is this: to get another dog, now or ever, would be the highest form of betrayal.

My prayer is the same prayer of anyone who has ever lost their beloved dog to that most inevitable rite of passage, death: May you be happy wherever you are, still innocent and full of wonder.

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