If I were to tell you about me, I suppose I’d have to start with today, how I am happy and full and total, how there are jokes still stumbling joyously like a first time drunk on their way home, how I believe that there is enough food in the world for there was too much here, and how I noticed Lola, my dog for the last 16 years, look outside at the door where no one was.
She’s deaf. Much of her hair has sloughed in uneasy age. There are her legs, tugged underneath herself like a dirty secret. They shake as she gets up, with people still roaring in the background, with the deserts now tripping onto plates, and she lays beside the door. No one is coming. No one is going. She moves further away, flops in a shoe.
I do not know what she is thinking, but I have some ideas. She was raised with Mocha, my other dog, who must’ve told her what we told her during a thunderstorm or when fireworks cackled with doom: sh. Sit easy. Do not fret. We are yours. We are here. We always will be.
Mocha died on December 23rd 2015. We put her down. Lola was there, at her side. She was wagging her tail. We were all together again.
We are together now, shots glasses now gaggling with one another. My mom is visibly licked, her words are slurring. My dad proposes a grand idea of caroling. The words reach Lola, who cannot hear them, who remains tucked away where only I see her. The door looms in the distance.
Do dogs mourn the dead? Mocha once brought a mouse to Lola as a gift. It was her first catch. She was proud. Lola was disgusted. She yelped when she smelt the raw, sun-bitten flesh.
Do dogs dream? Mocha would move her legs wildly each night, whimpering. Lola would come in between them, nestle in the warmth, and rest for however long was necessary.
Do dogs know what will come? Before Leo, our neighbour, killed himself, he would always tell us that Mocha knew things that humans did not. She could smell life, he would say. He would pat her and she would look at him with sinking eyes.
Lola’s legs wobble like a record being skip. She tries to get up. In the dark, the very dark, she cannot. I come to her just as the bottle of vodka is finished. No one notices. I spend time with her, alone, silent, remembering.