The eyes aren’t the portal to the soul. The eyebrows are.
Shave them off and you’ll know. You’ll see the stares; you’ll feel how people slowly alter their path when you come closer. They do that even when you’re far away, when they can’t yet see what might be wrong with you. They just know that there is something very wrong.
Like Martina in 7th grade. She was a ginger; soulless. So it was okay that we bullied her. You can’t hurt someone doesn’t have a soul. She was a person to be pushed, not touched.
It was fun to push her into the lockers. She never fought back; she just accepted it as her fate to be squeezed between lockers and the bodies of bigger girls and sometimes boys. Nobody moved away when she came. Nobody played by the rules when she was there – to move aside, make space to allow each other to pass. All just walked straight and Martina had to find a way; to squeeze to the side, between elbows and lockers, hoping that they didn’t attempt to connect.
It wasn’t us that ripped her hair out. She did that herself. Sitting in that seat, on the right side of class, close to the exit, she pushed her right hand deep into her curls. Then she pulled and twisted her arm, but her head stayed in place, unmoving except for the occasional twitch. She pulled the hand out with full force, holding a tuft that disappeared in her bag. She never looked back. She knew we were all staring.
She was two months old when I got her. And just four months when he took her.
Soft, long, golden fur. A tongue that was always hanging out and dripping with saliva. She loved to lick my face. She loved to cuddle up to me at night. And I loved all that about her.
I got her because I was lonely and lost in a way that no human companion wants to fix. But from the day I picked her up I didn’t feel alone anymore. I have two dogs now, one sweeter than the other, but I still thank Bessie for saving me.
I lost her the fourth of April. We were out of the city so that she could run without leash and Bessie loved running after the frisbee and I took the chance to practice a few commands with her.
Bessie rolled down onto the floor with her belly up and what seemed like a grin on her face.
A light cough. Then a heavy, throaty cough. I still go to class. Still do sport. Still have too much to drink. The pain starts. Itching and a scratching sensation inside my chest and throat. The cough syrup makes my throat explode in flames of pain. A morning with a throbbing headache; two or three weeks after the first cough. I am eating cereal rings. Another cough. Something liquid and the taste of iron in my mouth. Another cough. The red slowly mixes with the white of the milk. Two hours of plastic chairs and blood in my mouth. I open my mouth and he presses the wooden ladle so hard on my tongue that I gag. “Wow.” Doctors should never say “Wow.” Continue reading →