Navy-Blue Cloth— Words and Pain

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2012

Kathryn Malnight
Navy-Blue Cloth— Words and Pain girl is holding dog collar

I hope he’ll never forget, he is Kathryn’s dog. My dog

“He was mostly your dog.” The words flew in flurries around my head. I shall never forget them. “He was mostly your dog. Mostly your dog. Your dog. Dog.” Never-ending words, a round of angels whispered in my head. A comfort I drank like I would drink elixir. I found a blanket in those words. A mission. A dream that could never be reached. To find him. For the few of us who have suffered this particular loss, you know how it is worse than a pet dying. Knowing that somewhere out there, he lives.

Hickory was a flurry of a pup. His brown and black spots said splatter paint, and his black hole eyes had an overflowing cup of happiness. “I have a home!” they seemed to shout, “I have a home!” But he was afraid of my dad.

Hickory was abused as a young dog and was separated from his only friend, his sister. We figured, over time, he must have thought my dad was the one who abused him.

In the car, we were shouting out names. We didn’t want the pup to be called Hickory.

“Juice Box!”

“Bennett!”

“Clifford!”

“Henry!”

“Wags!”

“Greg!”

“JUICE BOX!”

Then we heard the words on the radio, “Mason-Dixon Road Line.”

Navy-Blue Cloth— Words and Pain an angel with a dog

Bing. Ding. Bingo! Dixon. Dixon. Dixon. The words curved on my tongue, the way a flower does when it wilts. They floated like clouds above our heads, in a navy-blue cloth. Then they shimmered, and whoosh! Out the window they went, to tell the newspaper, the state, the country, the world, the universe about our dog. Dixon.

But good things never last. Two years later, October 16th, he is taken away. Whooshed out of my world, like those navy-blue words were, two years before. Gone from my life. But this time, the whoosh had great pain in it.

My calender became filled. On every Friday it read “eight Dixon weeks,” and so on. It had a hopeful look. All my possessions did. We all were holding our breath, we all longed for Dixon to come home, like that Lassie dog did. I still do dream he will. I know he is out there. I hope he’ll never forget, he is Kathryn’s dog. My dog.

If you happen to come into my house one day, October 16th, you will come across six people wearing everyday clothes and doing everyday things. But if you travel upstairs, you shall see a girl with straw-colored hair, wearing dark-colored clothing, and in her hands a black band with three tinkling things on it. You shall be curious, so you shall come closer. You will see in her white-with-anger-and-sadness hands, a collar. Of a dog, who shall always have a home in her heart. And if by chance you go by New Hampshire one day and see a dog that is white and black, with splatter-paint spots and black hole eyes, you know who he is. Make sure his cup is overflowing with happiness. Rub his ears, and tell him these simple words, “I will always love you.”

Navy-Blue Cloth— Words and Pain Kathryn Malnight

Kathryn Malnight, 11
Wayland, Massachusetts

Navy-Blue Cloth— Words and Pain Alondra Paredes

Alondra Paredes, 12
Bentonville, Arkansas

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