She whispered in his ears for the hundredth time, “Get up, please!” She leaned onto him and kissed his face in a rapid flow of desperation and repeated in a staccato, “Dear- get-up- please.”
A million drops fell on her from the sky and a million drops fell on him from her eyes.
She ran from him…away from him towards the deserted road splashing the rainwater accumulated in the puddles. Her little frock smeared in blood and mud while she ran in all directions like a madman. She stopped and turned towards him. From a distance he still looked so lovely to her- so familiar- as if he was only enjoying his usual afternoon nap. She wanted to stroke him awake and pull it by its ears and run home.
She ran to him and squatted beside him, tired of the ordeal of running all around. Finally she put her head down on his belly and cried till the loud cries reduced to inaudible sobs and she finally fell asleep.
She woke up with a familiar feeling of fear and horror. She looked around for a few seconds and then hung her head in dismay. She felt tired and weak.
It had stopped raining now. She got up slowly and dusted her clothes but the stains would not go away so easily. She cleaned her dead pet with the torn end of her frock and left the corpse as it is and turned to go home.
Little girl that she was, it was her first encounter with death. In the history of her life, it shall be mentioned henceforth that she lost the first love of her life when she was only six years old.
When the kid reached home, nobody asked her about Pozzo (for that was the name of the little dog) because there was no one home. She sat at the kitchen table all by herself and dialed her mom. She spoke on the phone dryly, “It has been raining all day and Pozzo is dead. He is lying on the road.”
Then she washed herself and ate the stale sandwiches from the fridge and lied down on the floor watching the door and waiting for it to be opened.
She had promised mom last night that she won’t go out on her own with her little dog to the road. She would not have gone out because she was a good girl as her mom said. But, Pozzo ran after that speeding car which raced out of the main gate that morning and she could not help following him. They had assumed that the car was gone but soon enough the car sped from another direction out of oblivion and hit Pozzo. He was tossed in the air before he crashed on the ground and died before her. The death was slow but when it came, Pozzo grew restless in its grip.
The lady of the house came in the evening and found the kid on the door mat sleeping peacefully. She scooped her in her arms and planted her on her bed. The movement woke her up. She opened her eyes slightly and closed it again.
When she had spent two full days on bed waking up only to drink her soup and medicines, she finally thought it was time to do some talking. She went to find her mom who was packing things in the box and asked her to sit with her on the table. She began speaking then in an obvious fit of rage and fury, “You are ugly. Your man killed Pozzo. You let him to that. There is no punishment for this mischief. Pozzo died.”
She broke into tears, crying hysterically, shrieking and shouting, repeating the same thing again and again.
Isabel pretended not to listen to her and did not budge even an inch from her place to comfort the little kid…the broken little kid. The kid, however, kept banging the kitchen stand, shouting as much as she could while wiping her tears at regular intervals.
When she grew wearied of shouting, she fell silent. She kept staring Isabel moving around the house for two full hours. The house seemed to be shrouded in deathly silence without the dog and its little caretaker deciding to mourn, having suffered the devastating bereavement.
She went back to her room, wanting to be alone. She slept on the floor again that night and did not wake up for two days, not even for food this time. In the middle of the second night she woke up feeling tired and sad. She dragged herself out of the house to see if she could find Pozzo lying still on the road. He was still there. But, the dead animal wasn’t alone. He was covered in an unfamiliar stench with flies marauding over.
At once, she was filled with disgust. She did not feel sad anymore. He wasn’t the one who had made her past two nights miserable. The filth was not what she associated with her Pozzo. She felt disconnected with her little dog, unable to identify and relate to him. He seemed some ugly planet of a very different habitat. She even doubted if it was Pozzo. But something inside her barged into her consciousness when she doubted thus and reaffirmed that it was the same dog.
She felt happy for she did not feel either love or longing for this creature anymore.
Strange, that it was love that made her miserable while indifference felt like a comfortable territory.
She turned home for a peaceful slumber.