S. (pt.2)

We went to Nuvali with my relatives and she rode with us in the boat and I took her little paw and made her wave at the folks on the shore.

She loved car rides.

When she was younger she used to do things like steal and chew on shoes and pee and poop everywhere. She was always getting smacked. One day I reached down to give her a pat and she cowered in fear thinking she was going to get smacked. I realized that she wasn’t making the connection between her bad behavior and the smacking, so she was getting needlessly hurt. I was also horrified that she’d gotten so used to smacks that she thought sudden movement = smack is coming. I stopped after that and she stopped the bad behaviors anyway when she grew older.

One of my exes once saw me holding her (upside down and cradled in my arms like a baby), watched me silently for a while and then said, “Bagay sa’yo.”

My sister’s friends always asked to see her when she was around because she was apparently oddly, amusingly well-behaved.

She didn’t like to step on things on the floor and usually paused outside my door until I said, “Come in,” then she’d run in with her tail wagging. Unless she really wanted to come in, like when my mom or the maid was chasing her to make her sleep downstairs. Then she’d run in without asking and hide under the bed.

If I hadn’t let her come outside with me. If the car had just come one minute sooner or one minute later.

When I saw her under the wheel I just stood and screamed like an idiot. If I’d run over to her right away she would’ve seen me last, instead of the cold sky, would’ve felt my hand last, instead of just the concrete.

If I hadn’t turned my back. If I hadn’t decided to walk her. If I hadn’t come home that day. She had been so happy to see me.

The strangest part is how quickly it happened, how there was no time for reprieve, no visit to the vet, no long months hiding meds inside her favorite foods, no tubes stuck in her. Whenever she got sick I always made her well, even when we couldn’t afford the expensive dog meds. I cut up human meds into tiny pieces. She used to get sick in the cold, so I bought her clothes and fought my parents to let her sleep indoors. At her sickest, on a rainy day, there wasn’t a car so I put on a coat and carried her in my arms to the vet.

My family used to think it was so strange how much I cared for her but in time they all got as obsessed with her as I was. During the break I moved her 2nd floor bed ( really my swivel chair with a t- shirt on it ) into my brother’s room to make her sleep there because she didn’t love him as much as me because he was home less often.

I have never wished to turn back time as badly as I did that night. All I needed was a few seconds. To turn around. To save her. I’d have given anything.


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