Contest submissions

The Velvet Glove

June 30, 2016 • By 14 394

            “You don’t have enough points, sir.”

The sentence echoed in my head again, uninvited, and although he had seemed fairly sorry for me (as much as a doctor showed emotion anyway), I could still feel the chill that had slowly run along my spine, as obnoxious as a vicious ice cube making contact with the back of one’s neck and dripping down one’s bare back on this cold, so cold afternoon in December. I had soon forgotten the most elementary process of breathing and I had instinctively reached out for my boy and gently patted his head.

            “You’re not a match.” He had paused and stared at my blank eyes. “But it was highly improbable that you would. Do you understand what I’m saying? You don’t have enough points of … compatibility, sir. I’m truly sorry. Maybe you should sit down.”

            “I’m fine standing over here in fear and shock, thanks.”

I had not understood a single word he had spoken, blinded by the vision of my young boy and hearing only my determined heart that had not been ready to take no for an answer. I had just known it was bad, really bad. My sight had been blurry and my hearing deadened as tears had threatened to push past my eyelids and an improbable cotton-bandage of denial had filled my ears. I had been there without being there, absently witnessing one of the most anguished out-of-the-body experiences ever, but inwardly ripped apart, trying to remember all the little prayers I knew and crying out at the injustice of the moment, rage enjailed in my amorphous lanky frame, gripping tightly at the prison bars and yelling for a riot.

            “Maybe his mother will be a match.”

There was no mother. That bitch had left us years ago to pursue her promising golden career in catwalk shows. Screw her. It was just me and Sam now. My sweet little boy. My best bud. I had shaken my head at the doc and looked over at Sam. He had seemed at peace, and he had gazed back at me with puppy eyes and a weak smile that had told me that it was going to be okay. Everything always was okay with Sam.

As I slowly and lonely walked down the street, vaguely kicking along the ground the ball that we loved so much to play together, a private projection of my little boy’s life settled before my eyes and darkened the room of my mind again despite the bright and joyful flashes. It was a short movie. A good movie but such a short movie, unfinished, begging for more sequels. Ten years old was not an acceptable age for a death.

Cars passed by me on the road in a fast rhythm, buzzing in my ears and taking me out of my reverie. Sam had always loved cars, ever since he was born. I loved them too. Cars were really a boy thing. He loved to ride in them, thrusting his head outside the window no matter how many times I’d told him how stressful it was for me. He loved to look and to inspect them closely as we shared a complicit moment, just walking together.

But there would soon be no more point in walking up and down the streets and freezing my butt off when Sam wouldn’t be here anymore. Even tonight was meaningless since he was doped up in his hospital room. Tonight. I was going to miss him tonight. I would not be wakened in the middle of the night like I usually was. Sam would not sneak into my bedroom, not quietly tiptoe into my bed, using the velvet glove, those velvet paws, and he would not lay down and nestle into my side.

            “You know, sir, ten years is not that short a life for a dog …” Stupidest, harshest thing I had ever heard …