Rinita is a creative writer, with focus on prose and poetry.
“No!” I yelled at the top of my voice.
It was getting dark, and I was in no mood to get into a lengthy discussion with my parents about whether we should watch the neighbor's dog for a month while they went cruising around the beaches of Hawaii.
I was thirteen, and I had a rare syndrome among my family and friends. The scientists called it cynophobia, my dad named it ‘bow-wow allergy’. Yes, I had an unbelievably strong fear of dogs. Hence, when the neighbors kindly asked my parents whether they would watch Sherry, I vehemently opposed.
I came back from school the next day to find dad sitting on the couch with the neighbor’s milky white Pomeranian. I screamed and ran out of the door, through the stairs into the front lawn.
“I’ve got it chained, sweetheart!” hollered dad from inside the house. “Come inside, it won’t hurt you.”
I wasn’t convinced, but had to go in as I was starving. I was relieved to see that it was really chained.
The next few days passed without any incident. The dog was always chained, and yet I always stayed in my room whenever I was home, and closed my door. Needless to say, dad took care of the dog as if it was his own. I hated that dog, and wished everyday that the neighbors would cut their trip short, until one fateful evening, that changed my whole life!
My folks had to go out to a party, and with my luck, I was stuck at home as all my friends were out with their families. So my parents decided that I should stay home with the dog, alone!! I protested, cried, banged the doors, but nothing worked. Mom and dad were gone, and the dog was chained in the living room. I ran into my room and bolted the door.
I’m not sure how much time went by, because I must have dozed off. I woke up with a start hearing some noise. In a minute I realized it was the stupid dog that was barking at the top of its voice. I was scared to my very core, but there was a thin layer of consolation on my fear that assured me that the dog was chained.
“He must be just hungry or something”, I thought. Mom and dad were going to be back soon, and I decided it best to leave it to them to deal with it.
It kept barking for over fifteen minutes, and the fear in me slowly began to penetrate the layer of consolation. All of a sudden, I heard a scratching sound on my door. The barking continued intensified with each scratching sound.
“This is it!” I cried to myself, “This is how I am going to die!” Five minutes passed, the scratching continued. “Why does it want to hurt me so badly?” I asked myself. I reflected for a minute, and realized may be its not trying to hurt me, maybe it’s just trying to tell me something.
I gathered up all my strength, even more than I had gathered the day I was up against that huge guy at the gym, and slowly opened the door.
The moment I opened the door, the fearsome animal grabbed me by my jeans, and before I had time to realize anything, I was standing in the living room, in front of the electric socket next to the TV, and witnessing fumes coming out of it, accompanied by a burning smell!!
Two hours later, I was thanking the kind men from the electric and fire safety department for saving my apartment, and my life. The gentlemen turned to me with a smile and said, “Don’t thank us, save your dog, he saved your life”. I turned around to find Sherry, and there he was, sitting quietly next to his chain, with blood dripping from his neck from when he had broken the chain apart before running to my door. I realized at that moment that I had never done anything so brave in my life, much less to save someone who hated me.
It has been ten years since that incident. I graduated from college. I go back home once in a while to meet my folks, and as I wander around the neighbors’ backyard, and place the radiant flowers on his grave, I whisper aloud to whoever might hear me, “I will never forget you, Sherry”.
© 2010 Rinita Sen