25 December 2009

An Unfortunately Unforgettable Christmas

I have always been anti-Christmas.

No, I'm not bitter about never receiving the right present nor do I let myself get bothered by all the Salvation Army bells ringing out in front of every supermarket. It's actually because I have to burn a hole in my wallet to show you (insert name of friend or family member) how much I love you. However, ever since the boyfriend and I moved in together this past September, I was actually looking forward to the holidays, what with all the decorating and that tree shaped thing we put up on our wall in place of a real tree (we have cats - they like to climb things), and our effort to boycott buying gifts for the family (failed). Most importantly, it was going to be our first Christmas together as a family. We would be making wonderful memories.

Stupid, stupid, STUPID Vicki!

Christmas Eve came around and it couldn't have left sooner. We were driving out from our car port to leave the complex and I stopped to make a right at the dumpster, which happens to block the laundry room, to get onto Wilson Street (our main street). After I went over the speed bump, I heard a loud, horrifying woman's shriek. I immediately stop my car, turn off the engine and Peter and I got out to see that one of our neighbor's dog was just run over - by my car.

I screamed, "HURLEY! OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!"

He yelped helplessly and was obviously in so much pain. His owner had already run back to her apartment to get help and one of the neighbors (or a friend of hers, I'm not sure) came out and told me to keep cool and was trying to talk to Hurley. How could I keep cool? This dog was hurt and I couldn't help him.

Hurley limped around in circles...he obviously had a broken leg but it was more than that. The weight of my car must've crushed something inside of him for he laid down soon afterwards on the speed bump. As I'm writing this I'm crying all over again. If you don't want to know, please stop reading here.

His breathing slowed dramatically and then it stopped. He didn't even close his eyes. He passed suddenly only I didn't want to believe it. I heard someone screaming "NO!" over and over again but it must've been me because Peter then picked me up and said that there was nothing we could've done. The other guy kept trying to tell me to calm down, to leave, to stop freaking out. How could I NOT FREAK OUT I just killed a dog but not just any dog - it was her baby!

Neighbors from around the complex were with me when it happened soonafter, each one telling me that it was an accident and that Hurley used to run around all the time without a leash. It didn't matter, that wasn't important - none of it was. It still doesn't change the fact that I ruined someone's Christmas and that Hurley will not be coming back to his mom.

A woman from the complex helped Peter walk me to the apartment only I decided I didn't want to go inside; I needed to sit and regroup as best as I could where I was. It was strange because after everything had happened I didn't have a chance to really cry; it was only after Peter held me that it hit me - the initial shock was gone and my body became completely overwhelmed with what happened. I cried, I sobbed - I wailed. There was no undoing what had already happened.

Some time had passed and Peter and I were still sitting on the curb when I heard Hurley's mom and dad coming down the walkway. She was crying of course, and he was visibly upset, but her first words were along the lines of, "It was an accident." I ran to her and we cried together. "I want you to know it's not your fault. I'm his mom; I should've had him on a leash. I saw you driving; you were going slow. Hurley was just excited to come out of the laundry room, and I just should have had him on the leash. He was a good boy."

All of this, was of course, not said in a calm, collected manner. She wasn't sure why I was upset exactly, but I told her, "I'm a pet owner, too. I'm so, so sorry." And then we continued to cry...imagine two grown women wailing over the loss of a child - the world could not have been any more unjust.

She and her husband will be leaving the complex. I believe it's because this place will remind her too much of Hurley. She won't get to see him chasing the squirrels or running around with her husband while he rides his dirtbike. Maybe it's for the best but I can't help but think it's to get away from me. Don't tell me, please don't tell me, I know it was an accident and I acknowledge that, but I hope that you'll never ever have to go through what we both went through on Christmas Eve. For her to see her dog get hurt before her and for me to see that dog's life leave his body right in front of me - no pain can ever come close to that.

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