For this prompt, I played everyone the song, “Guilty” by Julia Fordham (from her album That’s Life). I’ve embedded it here so you can write in response to this song. What I wrote is below.
Is love ever done with us? Do we have to replace the lover to stop the ache? I’m filled with questions like these. But don’t worry, dear reader: I’m not going to write about him anymore.; however, I am going to write about her, his bulldog. I’ll miss her always. And you might say it’s because they are fashionable and cute, (and high maintenance) but I love that little dog.
Lately it seems everywhere I look I see bulldog images: on billboards, on magazines, on greeting cards. Freud might say I’m seeing those now because my unconscious is trying to lead me toward some truth, some understanding. And she was a bad dog, mostly. She chewed table legs and cabinet handles; she never came when you called her; she pooped on the kitchen floor.
She’s connected, I know, to a greater desire: to return to what felt like the beginning of a family: a yard, a dog, a garden, dinner parties and dining room furniture. I’ve done my time on the couch, Dr. Freud; I know what that little bulldog represents. And my life isn’t empty or sad. I still have orchids and new tennis shoes and friends in other countries. Just last night I cooked steaks for two close friends. We had brown butter brownies for dessert: they jumped right off the cover of Bon Appetit and into our mouthes.
Still, it’s important to grieve what’s gone: her little smushed up face and snorty hellos before green tea every morning made me feel like I’d finally arrived somewhere. Somewhere safe. How can a dog do that?
“You need to get a dog of your own,” people tell me. But I’m not ready yet. Maybe I’ll never be. And then there’s the issue of which breed, and how much they shed; it’s just not a commitment I’m ready to make right now. Is this longing for her a loosely disguised longing for a family, a partner, a child? It probably is, but the joke’s on me, because seeing him again fills me with nothing but conflict. But seeing her again? Well, I imagine it’s a beautiful reunion, that we’ll both cry, that she’ll want to come home with me.