There was a time when I thought that I was too late to see him.
I don't know if I still believe that.
I heard about the news on that March 2nd afternoon. He left on Thursday the week before. I thought it was a joke and I rushed outside. He wasn't inside the garage. He wasn't laying around backyard. I ran to his doghouse and he was there. The different colored dirt told me. I sped back inside and I saw my sister holding onto my mom. That's when I knew he really was gone, and the tears rushed down. I sat down in front of my food, slowly picking up the rice and beef I had that day. My parents explained it was something that we all were expecting. He was getting old and we knew he was going to pass on soon.
I understood all that, but, at the time, I thought it was too soon.
Or that I was too late.
I went back to my room and I couldn't do anything that day. It was just him. My dog. Coco. I hadn't seen him since January when I left back for college for the Spring semester. I was just into work that whole time. Resident Assistant applications, math and physics work, a speech project, a writing paper, a lot of programming, interview preparations. My parents had called me multiple times throughout January and February if I was coming back at any point. The same response I gave was that I was too busy. And I was. I needed to keep my grades up to keep a $14,000 scholarship. I had to work at my work-study job to help with other school expenses. I needed to do well in this application so I can become a Resident Assistant in the future and have free room, board, and food expenses paid for so that my parents wouldn't have such a burden on my school finances.
I worked to help my parents, but maybe they knew something about Coco during that time. I've never asked yet, but I understand what they were doing. They didn't want that burdening me with the work I already had. And that it was better in person.
After finishing up many things, I went home. I learned the truth. And I cried
I never dealt with death before. And it was with someone whom I knew for most of my life up to this point.
I was four when I first got him. Me and my sister played with Coco so much when we were young. He was a weird dog in that he never liked dog food and preferred regular chicken, beef, and bones. Especially bones. I remember at my young age that I tried to ride him at some point, but he would always try to go away. I was stupid at the time. Common sense doesn't hit us that soon anyway. He always hated baths and he loved chewing balls. He was a great dog. He even prevented the theft of my dad's car at one point! His barking woke my dad up. My dad saw the assailant try and break in his car, but he ran outside with a bat, cursing at him as the assailant ran away. I don't remember if Coco got awarded for that.
But like all other dogs and their owners, Coco was my very close friend. He was there all the time, regardless if we punished him for something bad. But, like all dogs, they unconditionally love us. He unconditionally loved my family and I. I loved hugging his fluffy fur. I loved his black coat and white underside with his white furry toes. It always made me think he was wearing a tuxedo. His eyes always made me smile. Coco in general made me smile.
But he left...
I never said goodbye. I was too late. I think that is what keeps me sad about his death. I only wish I knew his time was coming and that I could have arrived a week earlier. I wanted to pet him and feed him and be with him one more time. But I missed the chance. I just wanted to saw goodbye before he closed his eyes one more time. I wanted to hold him. But on that March 3rd afternoon, I saw a patch of dirt that was different from the rest around it. And I just wanted him. I wanted to see him one more time. I wanted to dig him up, but I knew it was disrespectful.
I can't see any of his pictures. They just remind me that he is gone. I haven't looked at any of them since then. People always say that you should remember the good times, but it's difficult for me at least. I just wanted to see him one last time, and maybe it wouldn't be so hard to remember the good times.
I was too late.
Why can't I have a second chance?
You were there for me, Coco. Why couldn't have I been there for you?
I wanted to see you.
Before you left.
I can see his photos again. But I stare into his eyes. And they aren't the eyes I am looking for. It's not the same. I want the real Coco. And I don't know what to do.
I want to give him a big hug.
I want to remember the good memories without tearing up.
I want to say goodbye.
But maybe it's time to move on...
I can't do anything now, as much as I wish I could...
I can only continue to live and remember the good times he brought me in my youth.
Only remember him as one who always smiled.
Only remember him who loved every kind of meat and more.
Only remember him as a smart dog that knew the commands that were taught to him both left and right.
Only remember him as the dog who was always with you.
Only as an amazing dog and pet.
Only as my close friend.
Only as Coco.
May 2nd, 1997 - February 23rd, 2012