Leaving Childhood Friends

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Leaving Childhood Friends

I gave myself permission to speed in the evening rush-hour traffic. My brother occupied the passenger seat and silently cradled Maude, who was wrapped in a kitchen towel (Mom’s contribution). It was her first ever car ride, and it was a wild one. Her breathing was ragged, her eyes closed, and she was unaware of her surroundings. A glimpse in the rearview mirror told me that I did not look so great, either. Safety principles were of low priority, and our mission was to get immediate medical attention.

She was my prized purchase from the local pet shop. A fan of the then-new Bea Arthur sitcom, my mother had insisted that we name her ‘Maude.’ She never refused a critter, and while I had not sought permission, it was a no-brainer that she would stay and become family. The squeak of her exercise wheel became an unnoticed background noise in the household. Maude was a star within my circle of giggling preteen girlfriends, who also played with her when visiting.

Life expectancy for Maude’s ilk is 4-7 years, depending on diet, genes, and activity. Maude had loving care and had surpassed that at 9 years old. Somehow during that same period, I had grown up, matured (sort of), and had not in any way prepared for my special friend to leave this world.

By the time we roared to a halt in the Veterinarian’s parking lot, I was sobbing uncontrollably over my guinea pig. The staff gently took her limp body from us and kept her for observation, but their eyes told me that Maude was not coming home.

I keep a piece of Maude’s memory in my heart— and imagine that I can still hear the squeak of her exercise wheel

Submitted: January 19, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Kathryn Mason. All rights reserved.

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Great job! We have a winner!

Thu, January 19th, 2023 7:29pm


That is really sad. I was wondering what type of animal you were referring to and when I found out it was a guinea pig my heart went out. I've had guinea pigs before and they're such beautiful animals. Your story really captured how much you loved Maude and how much difference she made in your life.

Sat, January 21st, 2023 5:47am

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