I’m sorry. I wasn’t with you in the end like I thought I would be in the beginning. You remember that? You were born on a Monday with all your brothers and sisters. I remember seeing all of ya’ll in the house, at your mothers teet. I even remember when I was presented with you. And while I don’t remember taking you home on the day you were old enough, I remember everything else.
I remember how I asked my dad if it was ok to have a dog again. Of course when they saw you, who could have said no to you? Then I remember you becoming my responsibility because he changed his mind all of a sudden. I didn’t want to take you back. I wanted to do everything right by and I did. You saved my life back then Harley.
You shared your love with me unconditionally from the beginning. We would start our days together and end them together. I looked forward to our walks around the cemetery just as much as you did. To say hi to all of the friends we had made there walking around everyday for 45 minutes. It was never too late to go out and walk because if we didn’t get it in, things wouldn’t have felt right.
I still remember seeing you curled up in a ball on the lawn that one night. It was drizzling and I was getting home from night school. I remember walking up to the gate door and there you were. Shivering and getting wet, but it didn’t matter. As soon as you heard the clanging of the metal gate you woke up and your face light up.
You saw that I was home and that everything was ok again. I would site with you outside for a while as you ate and then we both made our way to bed.
And even after I had to give you back to your parents, after moving around constantly and trying to find a place for us both, I never got my stuff together. I kept bouncing from one house to another. But still I would come and walk you. Over time it became less and less frequent, until I just stopped all together. I know that you were still waiting for me to show up. To make the loudest noise in the world with that rusty gate and come get you for a walk. But I eventually stopped going.
It breaks my heart to think of all those times we just sat on steps together. You would walk around me, stick your head underneath one of my arms and lay on my lap. In those moments, all I could think about was trying to get you to live with me again. To go back to how things were in the beginning. But I never got my act together for that to happen.
I found out you left on a Monday via a text message. I’ve lost touch with the folks I left you with over the years, and I’ve kept my distance because I wasn’t comfortable being in those spaces again. I’ve grown and change dramatically from then that it was night and day. Making small talk about awkward things isn’t in me.
But I write this more than anything to thank you. You came into my life when I was in a deep transition and a deep depression. You came around when I was barely starting out in college. When I was discovering that being undocumented wasn’t then end of the world and that there were others like me. You got me through those times and instilled lessons that I still carry on today.
I know I wasn’t there with you in the end, but not a day goes by that I never thought of you. You’ve had more impact in my life than any real person. Thank you Harley.
“And now, I here I stand, lost in a memory, I see your face, and smile. “