The Dog Must Live

It started out with me ending up at the farm I grew up at, but the family that used to live there wasn’t present. Instead, I observed my grandparents as well as my godfather shooting little kittens or throwing them repeatedly at rocks until they died a slow, painful death. I begged them to stop, I yelled at them desperately and started crying until I ran out of tears. “Please, please, let me adopt them. I will take care of each and every one of them”. – “You can’t take care of anything” someone replied. “I’ve had two cats before” I asserted, raising my voice under the noise of the bullets. “They ran away from you. Maybe they hated you”. With these words, they killed the last kitten, in front of my eyes. “Please stop” I cried. “At least”, I demanded in a high-pitched voice, “at least spare the dog”. Someone in the background said “The dog is old. He’ll die eventually. Let her have him”. My grandfather, the one killing all those innoncent little animals, put the shooting to a halt and agreed. “Let her have him”, he said cynically, “She can’t take care of him anyways. Let her see for herself, maybe it’ll teach her a lesson”. The person in the background having defended my cause had been an old lady I used to call “granny” because of us having been very close. She was my godfather’s mother who had died last December. It didn’t matter though because at this moment she was perfectly alive and the fact that she was was the only one sticking up for me helped me cope with reality. She stepped up to me and said “Here are all the necessary documents for the dog. Take good care of it”. – “I will!” I sobbed gratefully, still crying over all the dead little kittens.

Then the scene changed to Canada. I was standing before my grandparents’ house. Around the corner from them, there was a beautiful, large river. The sun was shining brightly and it warmed my body and heart. I got the great urge to go kayaking. I had a boat, but I figured I wouldn’t get far without a paddle. To my disgrace I found that the only paddle within reach was owned by my grandparents, so there was no way I would be able to indulge in my passion.

Next thing I  know, I was in my bedroom, where all of a sudden, my mother appeared. Behind my back, she had come to an agreement with a couple of other people that it was better to have the dog killed than to have me take care of him, which, according to her, would have been “outrageously irresponsible”. After all, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Next to my mother my “granny” appeared out of the blue. She looked deep into my eyes that were filled with tears. I wondered if she could feel my agony. Was I the only one who could sense her presence?
My brain switched itself off and all there was left of me were my pure, animalistic survival instincts.  All I knew was that I cared about the dog.  The dog needed to live. Then again, in retrospect, I didn’t know if this was just about the dog. Maybe the dog was a sign. I drew my rifle and pointed it straight at my mother. My voice was loud and clear. “If you touch the dog”, I said with a cold voice that sent shivers down my own spine, “I will kill you”. I could feel the blood pumping in my ears.

The next moment I found myself in front of my grandparents’ house again. It was transparent, since there were no doors or windows one could close as far as I could see. There was nothing that could be hidden. Inside of the house, there was my grandmother setting the table. I looked at her and felt a sudden urge for nourishment and shelter. I wondered where I’d sleep tonight. I wondered where I’d eat tonight. I went back to the lake and couldn’t help but marvel. I was at peace with myself and I was at peace with the river. I was sure that the world’s beauty was united at this one spot. Once again, I desperately glanced at the paddle. My aunt pointed an accusatory finger at me and told me that it was all my fault. It was my fault that things had gone wrong. It was my fault that she’d make sure that I could never have the paddle. It was my fault that I was suffering from her punishment. I looked at my grandmother, as though as I were hoping to find some kind of spark in her eyes that would indicate the opposite. She looked as though as she genuinely wanted me to stay but she had given in to the pain that had surrounded her, the pain I had given her. Within all this misery, I understood that she was deeply hurt. I understood that she couldn’t and wouldn’t take lightly what I had done to her.
There was a small cabin next to my grandparents’ house. It was just big enough to contain a small bed. In there, there was my “granny” who shared life’s wisdom with me.


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