Really, I am allergic to cats. But that’s kind of another story.
Last night I was looking for something entirely different when I came across this long forgotten writing exercise from college. It was one of the first assignments for a non-fiction writing class. The prof challenged us to write a two page sentence. We could use any punctuation we wanted, but we had to save the period for the very end. You have no idea what kind of lesson I got in impulse control every time I wanted to hit the . on my keyboard.
Anyway, I gave it a fresh read and got a little misty because I wrote it about a dog I had as kid and it got me thinking about my kids and the dogs they’re growing up with. They are all their own special pack, playing together, protecting each other, and missing each other when they are gone. It is a beautiful thing to see.
So, without further ado: the mother of run-on sentences.
You have this sweet, ironic look resting on your face, like you don’t know what to say – even though you do – to this person who laughed at the story of how your dog died, so you pretend that you don’t mind, but you do mind and even though you shrug when they say “it’s only a dog,” we both know that she was not just a dog she was “the” dog, the dog to end all dogs, the epitome of dogs, she was your dog and you want to scream and spit at this stupid person who is laughing at you now because your dad gave you that dog when you were a baby and that dog taught you how to walk and kept the strangers away and wrestled with you and offered to share her biscuits with you and ate with you and licked you whenever anything hurt and she wasn’t “only” a dog she was the only dog, she was the dog all other dogs wish to be, and she would piss all over this poor bastard who’s laughing at you now because she knows and you know and they are too shallow to know and to understand even if you relent and say “she was just a dog” you will know better because they never played in the woods with her during a thunderstorm, and they never hid in the bathroom with her during a tornado and they never fell asleep with her in front of the radiator after sledding down the mother of all hills on a “snow day” and they never crept down the stairs with her to watch “The Smurfs” and they never guarded her when she was guarding them because some other idiot was throwing stuff at her and they never watched her chase squirrels and growl at men in dark coats with long umbrellas who lingered too long and they will never understand because they don’t care about anything the way you do, they are cat people they don’t know anything, but you know your dog could and would kick their cat’s ass any day and you would never call her off you would stand behind the curtains and watch and smile because you know how great you’ve got it, even when in that last fleeting moment when all you wanted to do was make her better and bring her back to the woods you used to play hide-and-seek in and hide all of the illness somewhere so she would never find it, even though she would be smart enough to know where you put it anyway but you know you can’t so you hold her, and pet her and look at her and try not to look her in the eye as the tears roll down your cheeks because you know she doesn’t have the strength to lick them up like she always used to and you want her to, you really want her to because that means she will never leave but she has to and you know that and they know that and there’s nothing you can do about it even though you’d do anything and she’d do anything, but that’s just life, or is it death, it doesn’t matter, you just have to deal with it and move on and smack these stupid people who don’t understand because they weren’t there when you were sitting on the floor of the little brown kitchen, holding her, watching and seeing her smile at you, you, her baby, her friend her compadre and even in her last breath she took all of her energy to smile at you and you know that she was thinking about that first time when you were one and you tried to ride her and she dragged your little butt all through the house and you finally figured out how to put one foot in front of the other and walk and from that moment on you were everywhere with her, and that’s all that matters and that is something they will never grasp because it wasn’t their toes that got rug burn that day, and they can say anything they want because she was the best damn dog there ever was or ever will be and that’s all that matters and they are all just extraordinarily jealous because your dog gave you everything.