The End

by Laura Pearson

After dozens of false alarms, it was time. I sat with her head in my lap, stroking her ears the way she’d always liked. You didn’t say anything, and I knew your heart was breaking. She’d been with us from the start. Our second date, we walked past an animal shelter and you said you’d always wanted a dog, and we went inside. You took her home that afternoon. Two weeks later, I moved in.

‘I’ll drive,’ you said, a hairline crack in your deep voice. I lifted her, and noted how much lighter she felt. As if she was empty inside. We took her bed from the kitchen and laid it in the back seat, trying to make this last journey the best it could be.

You carried her in, and we were shown to a room where we could say goodbye. It was bright white, clinical, but there were human touches. A vase of fresh flowers, pale green cushions. I knew you were going to break down before you did, and I knew, too, that I would not. That my crying would be done later, in private. We held her, and your tears fell on the fur of her neck, and I knew I’d always remember that.

Afterwards, we went home, and it wasn’t the same place we’d left. We both knew it was over. I said I’d go to my mum’s, and you nodded, your face still wet with tears. I packed some things in a bag, said I’d come back for the rest. At the door, I turned. I said thank you. I meant for the way you’d loved me, and her. You put your arms around me and almost lifted me off the ground. And in that hug, all the love we’d squandered.


Laura Pearson lives in Leicestershire, where she blogs (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), writes novels and flash fiction, and runs around after two small humans. Her first novel will be published in 2018 by Ipso Books.

One thought on “The End

  1. This was such a beautiful piece! I loved how you could create such powerful emotion with such short sentences (e.g. “We both knew it was over”). Six little words that convey the pain of ending a relationship following the euthanizing of a pet. I think you also have an uncanny ability to say much with few words (“I lifted her….As if she felt empty inside”), you say much more here, than just “she’s dying.” You immediately know that this isn’t the first visit to the vet, and it has been a long and hard journey for them. Finally, I loved the hidden aspect here. The trip to the vet’s office is what drives the story, but it’s not till the last paragraph that we realize the story isn’t about the dog, but the end of a relationship. Amazing, can’t wait to read more!

    Like

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