Even though I was fairly young back then, I remember the day my mother changed. It was the day they buried Mr. Johnson in the cemetery behind the church.
My mother had loved Mr. Johnson dearly, as he had loved her. Even though he did not speak her language, they communicated effortlessly. They shared a bond— so pure, so strong; as ashamed as I am, I admit I was jealous of Mr. Johnson.
He held an inexplicable power over my mother. When he was around, my mother would be jovial beyond reason. Mr. Johnson too, seemed to be spellbound by my mother. Despite his busy work schedule, he would spend quality time with her every day.
I remember being suspicious when my mother hastily put me to sleep each day just before Mr. Johnson’s return from work. Curious as I was, one day I decided to pretend to sleep, and later snoop around spying on her. I remember the indignation I felt when I saw her leave for a walk with Mr. Johnson the minute he stepped in. If they wanted to take a walk, they could’ve taken me along with them, couldn’t they?
Needless to say, I was expecting my mother’s undivided attention when Mr. Johnson didn’t return home after the day at the church. Imagine my disappointment when that did not happen.
My mother seemed to have fallen into an abyss. As much as she attempted to keep me in the dark, I saw right through her facade. Her eyes no longer twitched with excitement when the doorbell rung. She stopped interacting with the neighbours. She stopped taking those long walks she loved, even when I offered to go with her.
It wasn’t long until she left home to take refuge in the shed behind the church. Our family members tried to coax her into returning home innumerable times, but she wouldn’t budge.
A few days later, my mother passed away. She was buried right beside Mr. Johnson’s grave.
I was confused and angry. Why did Mr. Johnson matter so much to my mother? He might not have been there, but I still was! For months I struggled to come to terms with this incident.
It has been sixteen years since then. Sonya has grown to be a beautiful young woman. She loves me as I love her, unconditionally. She still plays with me every day after school. We take long walks together. We visit the park every Saturday.
I finally understand.
I understand how my mother must have felt all those years ago. My mother lost her love, I cannot even imagine the pain of losing Sonya. I have learned to value every moment with her.
Like always, Sonya and I will take a nap after our walk today; my front paws curled around her feet, while she strokes the fur behind my ears; my peppy tail shall finally rest in peace.
In loving memory of Happy, the peppiest dog that ever was. We completed each other.