I found an assignment I was given while I was in a Writing Strategies class in school. As to keep everything in one place, here it is….
One missed phone call.
Someone had called and hung up after the first ring. I checked my phone. ‘Home’ it said. I called back, and it rang three times.
Click, click. The flashing numbers on my cell phone indicated that the connection had ended.
That’s weird. I’m not going to stress it, I thought. I can always rest assure that if my family has anything to tell me – important or not – they’ll make it a point to call until they get through. I continued rehearsing Hamlet with my group members for our presentation the next day.
“Okay. I’m leaving. I’m gonna work on some more stuff when I get home.” I gathered my materials and stored them away in the large crafts’ box I had brought.
Really, I was wrapping up because it had already been too many hours that I had been away from my 7 month-old, 4-pound miniature pinscher. His name was Brinks – like the security system. Since I had gotten him almost 5 months before, coming home was exciting.
On my way home I imagined, as I usually did, how Brinks would react when I got to the door. I knew he’d be waiting on the other side, whimpering with happiness. I’d open the door and he’d run in circles with his ears and stub-of-a-tail down, unable to decide what to do with his excitement. Finally, I’d pick him up and greet him with my barely comprehensible baby talk.
I pulled into my driveway and was surprised to see my father standing outside by the gate of the front courtyard.
“Can you help me bring this box in?” I said as I pointed to my crafts’ box.
My dad and I walked past each other as he went for the box in the car and I went for the door of the house.
Inside, I stood by the dining room table and my dad walked up to me and said, “Something terrible has happened.”
I searched for clues in my head. Is there someone who’s been sick that could’ve died? No ideas came to mind.
“The puppy was hit by a car.”
Ah, my dad the jokester! He’s just bothering me because he hates how I’m always on his back about closing the front door now that we have Brinks walking around the house. Jeez. Cruel Joke.
“No he wasn’t!” I laughed and pushed him on his shoulder.
He kept a fixed gaze on me and tried to insist by nodding his head.
“He was.” His voice cracked and he reached out to put his hands on my shoulders. From the corner of my eye I saw my mom reaching the bottom of the stairs from the computer loft where she had been and I saw her staring at me. No, this isn’t possible, I thought. Brinks is supposed to be alive like I had left him a few hours ago.
“How did this happen?” I finally asked.
My father just pointed at himself as he cried with his head down, “I threw out the trash and left the door open.”
“How many times do I have to tell you to close the front door!?” I screamed in frustration. “You always call me ridiculous! This is why I do it!”
We’ve had several family pets, but before Brinks, my family thought that people loving their pets this much was ridiculous. A pet is an animal – not a person. However, after a while it was no longer surprising to find my dad marching around the house holding Brinks in a sitting position on his head as he chanted the nickname he had for him, “Chi-cho! Chi-cho!” Brinks’ quirky personality and Napoleon complex amused us all. How could someone not find something that tiny adorable? I was obsessed.
“Listen, starting tomorrow, we want to take you to see different puppies,” my mom offered. “I’ve already gotten in touch with some min-pin breeders.”
I walked across the house to my room. Brinks’ bed, toys and bones had already been removed from my room. My dad knocked on the door and entered. I sat on my bed and he sat beside me.
“I’m sorry,” he told me. “You always warned me.” He hugged me and cried. I felt bad for how guilty my dad was feeling and was surprised to find that he was the one who need consoling. I couldn’t cry because it hadn’t really hit me yet. Then my sister, who lives in New York called.
“I told her that he had run away, ” my dad said as he looked at the caller ID. “At first we just couldn’t find him and then we never called to tell her we had.”
My dad picked up the phone, and I could hear her asking if they had found Brinks yet.
“He’s dead, Booboo.” He responded. Then he turned and looked at me, “She’s strong. She’s doing better than I am, actually.” My dad passed me the phone and left me to talk to my sister alone. A few moments later my brother walked in and sat beside me. He asked me how I was doing and hugged me. All of a sudden he put his head on my shoulder and started to cry. What is going on here? First my dad and now my grown brother. “I’m sorry,” he told me. “I know I could’ve prevented it. I came home and saw the door was open. If I would’ve just thought about it, I could’ve looked for him and found him.” Brinks was hit directly in front of my house, which means that if my brother hadn’t seen him on his way in, he hadn’t been hit yet.
We all decided to hold off on telling my oldest sister until she asked. She didn’t live with us, so that could buy some time. Who wants to upset a pregnant woman? For the next 7 consecutive days, we visited breeders from Pembroke Pines, Homestead and beyond in search of a new puppy to fill the void. My parents were ready to travel to Tampa or Orlando if we found something we thought was what I was looking for. Finally, on December 8th, exactly 7 days from the day we lost Brinks, I found him in Weston. A handsome, elegant miniature pinscher that I named Fargo. Though I loved Fargo, he was never able to replace Brinks.
Still, I was fortunate to have my family offering anything they had to help me get through my time of grief. Brinks changed my family’s perspective on pets and he’ll never be forgotten.