Saying Goodbye to Rizzo
by Ladi Loera
I met you on my morning walk. A few minutes earlier and I would never have seen you. A few moments later and someone else would've taken off with you, but I was there the moment after some idiot pushed you out of the back of their van. They drove away and you watched them leave.
There was another man on the other side of the street. He kept calling to you and you glanced at him, but you didn’t budge. I looked at you. I tilted my head to the side and sat down on the curb. Your eyes darted between me and the empty space where the van used to be just moments before. Then you turned towards me, came over and sat down beside me.
I looked at you out of the corner of my eye. You did the same. I introduced myself but you were less forthcoming. We stayed there for a couple of minutes and I wasn't sure what I should do, but I noticed you were wearing a collar with a short chain. I reached for the chain and stood up.
You stood up with me and we went home together.
You've been my best friend for so long it seems like I must've known you even before I met you. You've been kind and gentle and demanding and bossy and I have loved every minute of it.
Letting you go was next to impossible, but I could tell in your eyes that you needed me to let you go. So I did. I held you as you fell asleep for the last time. I told you how lucky I am to have known you, and I reminded you of the day we first met, twelve years ago.
It occurred to me that life can change in an instant.
Like that instant I turned the corner and saw you in the street, and like this moment, when I wrap my arms around you and say goodbye.