I live in a house by the beach. It has only one room and it used to be a home, till Scarlett left.
It’s been days now and I know what death feels like.
No one dies alone.
Everyone dies and takes a part of the people who love them. That’s why we cry, for the part we have lost. That’s why if you lose too many people in one lifetime, you die quickly. But even that is not death because you were already dead; you’re like a living man who has death walking in him.
It’s being vulnerable.
Knowing that which you love can be taken away at a moment’s notice. Now a jumping dog, next a gasping dog, now a heavy, hairy weight with the stickiness of fast congealing blood. I am amazed at how fast life leaves the body. In a few seconds, we turn from ‘is’ to ‘was’.
Scarlett. 28-8-2015 – 1-12-2015
It is the silence, of you, of Simba, as you crouch by your old playmate, hands in the dust. It is remembered moments.
It’s taking everything serious because if you were more careful, it would not have happened.
It’s taking nothing serious because every breathing thing will still go like that.
It’s fast. It takes 2 seconds – a rev, a thud, a dark, upturned outline on the road and fading red lights.
This thing is heavy.
It’s crude. It’s the Calabar people that gather moments after with sacks and buckets, ‘Oga, sorry o. Abeg you go fit give us cook? E go last us one week.’
It’s the struggle as she wills against death and only ends up coughing more blood.
It’s strength as her chest heaves one more time even when you think it is over.
It’s illusion. You believe she will return. You wait for the Calabar people to say she jumped out of the pot. You wait for her paws tapping against the bed frame the next morning, maybe it was all a dream.
It’s knowing it will happen again. Because death is a returning customer, a playmate who does not forget old lairs.
It’s hate for him who casually took away so much.
It’s love: a love that’s bigger than your language.
It is healing. Finding new games to play, returning her food bowl to the store and sometimes forgetting that you were once three, now two, then remembering when you see a picture or collar.
It’s in new superstitions – the pendants of Saints for protection, not walking past a certain road at night.
It’s many days, a return to normal like writing washed off a shore.
RIP Scarlett. I miss you. Simba stares into the distance a lot.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Daniel L. Balogh / Author’s Image