“Owww!” I yelped as my head hit the black and white tiled floor. I pressed my hand against the back of my head and hoped for the ringing to stop. Trying to breathe steadily, the rankness of animals filled my nostrils. Looking up, I peered through the translucent film over my eyes and saw him standing over me.
Panting wildly, there he was. His chocolate brown coat shone brightly and his eyes burned with the hope of getting a new owner. He had managed to knock me over but still looked innocently cute.
That was the first time I met Sammy and I recall many good times since then. Times of walks on the beach where he would dig up the bone he hid under the two palm trees. Times when he would sit in his favorite spot on the kitchen floor and drink out of his purple bowl. Times when he could never stop chasing the annoying squirrel around the many obstacles lying on the grass in our back yard. I could never forget those good times.
Looking back over all the years I’ve realized Sammy was a great companion. Even though he chewed up my favorite pair of rainbows or drooled all over my science lab report, I loved him with all of my heart and I still do. That will never change, no matter what happened to him.
The day of the accident still plays over and over in my head on a movie theater sized screen that can’t be overlooked or ignored. I want to forget it so badly. I can’t. I should have never let him go. It’s my fault. It’s my fault a car was zooming down the street past our house. It’s my fault he was playing in the front yard with the blue ball. It’s my fault because I threw the ball a little too hard and it rolled in the street. It’s my fault he was such a good dog and went chasing for it anyway. It’s all my fault.
I will never forget seeing him that day. Laying there, cringing in pain on the gray asphalt. The echoes of everyone huddled around us whizzed by my head as I sat there on my knees calling his name and begging him to wake up. His soft fur was matted with blood. Tears rolled down my cheeks and stained my shirt, but I didn’t care. I knew I had lost him no matter how many times they reassured me he would be okay.
I know what happened wasn’t on purpose, but I can’t help feeling some of the blame. I can forgive myself for what happened, but I can’t help wondering if he forgives me. I want there to be a way to make the pain disappear or erase some of the hurt. There isn’t.
I believe in letting go of the past.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for life to be like a board game and allow do-overs, but that’s not how it works. Trust me, I know how it feels to be extremely sorry for something you’ve done and it helps to move on and accept it. Once you’ve made a mistake there’s no taking them back or do-overs, just a chance to show how strong you really are. I am quite strong and so was Sammy.