I don’t know if you know this but at least where I live, girls like to talk on the phone when they walk home alone at night. It’s comforting. If a man tries to rob or assault them, imagine: the phone drops and the person on the other end hears their screams. So that’s the reason I’m crying. I couldn’t think of one single person who would want to talk to me while I walked my dog home from Peter’s during that thirty minute walk tonight. Instead all I could think about is what I would say if one of those gangsters (male, six feet tall, average weight, white bandana, hoodie) from the crime reports we get held a gun to my face. I knew what he would say. I read them every week. Sometimes they’re sad, almost as often as they are comical and stereotypical. He would demand my iPhone, my wallet.
In all those weekly reports the girls just hand over their wallets and phones. Their lives are much more important! But no matter how many times I go over it in my head that’s not what I do. As I walk home, holding my silent phone, with no one on the other end, I beg them to jump out of a bush or from behind a wall at me. I’d hold onto my cell phone, tell them I left my wallet at home. They can’t have it. No, not unless they pull the trigger of that shiny gun they’re holding. I’m not scared. Nothing could hurt me more than knowing I have to spend the next day sober and alive.
Just don’t hurt my dog, that’s all I ask. Kill me, take my wallet. I’ve known emotional pain; and I hate saying that. I’ve taken classes where I’ve read first hand accounts of holocaust survivors and of refugees of the Vietnam (or Indo-Chinese, depending on who you ask) war—I know my pain is minimal compared to that, but I also know I could take more. My dog on the other hand has been through so much.
I don’t talk to my parents. Maybe a text once or twice a month. I have a few friends but none of them really know me. They never call me or want to hang out. I’m on my own for the most part. That’s why I got a dog. People always say that dogs give you unconditional love. They are right, but they forgot to tell you that they also give you unlimited reminders about how inadequate you are.
My dog was taken from his mother and his litter at three weeks. He couldn’t see, he had no teeth. I spent weeks waking up every two hours to feed him from a bottle. So now at 4 months he bites, he barks, he is energetic; he is skinny for his age. He never had brothers or sisters or a mom to teach him wrong from right.
No matter what I do I can’t seem to help him. I forgot to apply for jobs for this summer. My GPA dipped below 3.0 for the first time all of college (unheard of at my prestigious school). I don’t have a job. My credit card keeps getting declined. I don’t have time to build my friendships. I spend every second of my free time trying to train him. No wonder I have no friends to talk to on those dark and lonely walks home. All just more reminders that I am alone. Not good enough. Not good enough for myself. Not good enough for my parents. Not good enough for my sisters. Not good enough for my friends. Not good enough for my teachers, future employers, dog.
Not even good enough for those newly initiated gang members in white bandanas in the bushes outside my house.
Its Rex's past that changes my mind. I have to care what happens to me; for Rex’s sake. For the first time someone else NEEDS me. He wont be okay without me. Even if I can go through more pain, he can’t. So for him, I know have to fight to get better. I have to keep living to be the one consistency he has ever had. For him.