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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Microstory 1034: Etta

Roughly eight months before I was born, my parents-to-be bought their first house, right here in Blast City. He was originally from Coaltown, and she from Adamantingham, so they figured they would live right in the middle, and be could be equally close to their respective families. To commemorate this big step in their relationship, she surprised him with a dog. Henry was a cairn terrier, and won the family lottery that day. They were fully prepared to take care of that furball just as they would a human child baby. That very day, they discovered her to be pregnant. As they tell it, I wasn’t a mistake, but I think we all realize this cute story doesn’t work if I wasn’t. It’s okay, I’ve come to terms with it, but I couldn’t have done it without my best friend, Henry. We grew up together like siblings, exploring the world, and learning from our mistakes. He was never as smart as any human, of course, and I quickly surpassed him in intelligence, but I think having me around gave him that little bit higher IQ. We would get into all sorts of trouble, and since we were doing it together, we suffered the same consequences, so our brains ended up being linked in a way no normal dog would. I know how silly that sounds, and again, I don’t think he could have done my algebra homework, but he did sit on the toilet once. No one believes me, just as you don’t, I’m sure, but it happened. Anyway, I’m eighteen years old, and dogs don’t live forever, so we lost him last year. He was actually pretty old for his breed, everyone was really impressed, but I was just heartbroken. My father buried him in the woods behind our house, but we it was a while before we held a service. I holed up in my room, trying to come up with the perfect eulogy for him, but I couldn’t figure it out. My parents told me I could give it whenever I needed, even if that wasn’t for another fifty years. Whenever I was ready, they would drop everything, and come out to the woods, so we could finally put him to rest. Two weeks go by, and I still haven’t finished my speech. I’m just staring out my window, as the baseball-sized hail crashes to the earth. Feeling particularly depressed about it, I sneak downstairs in the middle of the night, and step outside. I’m not trying to kill myself, but if some hail happens to hit me in the head while I’m on a walk, then I’m not going to fight it either. But they don’t. They’re falling all around me, but not one of them hits me as I walk all the way out to Henry’s grave. As I approach, I hear something that sounds only slightly different than the hail. I climb up the ridge, and see Viola Woods at the site. She’s stacking one of those stone monuments over his grave, and the hail isn’t hitting her either. Oh, and she’s not wearing any clothes at all. She turns around and smiles reverently at me. “Don’t write it down first. Just say it,” she advises. The next morning, I call my parents outside. We hold the service, and I start to heal. I’m almost nearly a fraction of the way to being about a half percent past it. Wherever Henry is now, I hope it’s not too far away from wherever Viola is.

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