by Lelia Brytan
When I first got you, I wouldn’t dare even try to pick you up. The thought of being responsible for a living beings life was scary and insane to me. I wouldn’t hold you for a good two weeks, and that’s one of my biggest regrets. What I would give to have those two weeks back. Two more weeks to feed you, to kiss you, to love you, the hold you, and to sleep peacefully on the couch with you. I regret not having given you a big enough cage until almost a whole year had passed. You deserved the space to run and play. Though it was a pain to clean your cage and make sure you didn’t escape, I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. You were my first baby. My first responsibility. You weren’t big on words, but would listen to every story and episode I had. Whether you knew it or not, you gave me purpose. I was so proud of every little thing you did, and constantly in awe at what you could do. You knew who I was. You recognized my scent. My loving hands. Having a living creature trust me with its life was the best reward I’d ever received. I promised to keep you safe. Healthy. Happy. You knew me better than I knew myself. We were two of a kind. I’ll miss our little talks. Our moments shared late at night and early into the morning. The days we’d watch shows together or eat breakfast to start the day. When things got hard, you kept me grounded. I wish I could have been there when you left. The week leading up to that fateful day was full of nothing but tears. It tore me apart worrying about you. The mere thought of you in pain led to restless nights. The vet said you were healthy, and that two weeks of medicine would help. You didn’t even get to finish your last dose. The morning of, I was headed to school, but made time to kiss you goodbye. I only kissed you goodbye for the day, I didn’t mean it to be for the rest of your life. You couldn’t even walk anymore, that morning. Hell, you could barely open your eyes. I kept my hopes up and tried my hardest to contain myself, but the bus ride to school was testing my strength. I almost broke down about 5 times that ride, but I kept telling myself you’d be fine. I called mama as soon as I got to school, and asked her to schedule an appointment for you later on that day, and she said she would. The school day went by quickly, but I couldn’t get you off my mind. When I got home, I was confident I’d see you healthy and happy again. I guess in my mind I thought that would still be in this lifetime. Mama was on the phone with someone when I walked in the house. She hung up, and I asked her if she had made an appointment yet. All she did was stare at me, and then said the words “he didn’t make it”. In that moment I would have preferred a bullet to the heart instead. I went to go pick you up, and you felt ice cold. You were gone. I didn’t even get to be there for you when you left. God, how I wish I could have held you as you slipped away. I don’t even know if you knew how sorry I was for leaving. I should have been there. That was my job as your mother, was it not? You looked so peaceful sleeping in your home, I just wished you could have felt my warm embrace one last time. I’ve lost a lot of important people in my life, and the last time I did, time had completely stopped. For the past three years, it felt like the world continued to progress while I just watched. Your death was my wake-up call. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt something. It ripped me to shreds knowing you were no more, but it was also a relief. I could now rest assured, knowing that you were no longer in pain, fighting to stay awake. It hurt more to see you alive and struggling than it did to see you dead and at peace. You left a hole in my heart, and it yearns only for you. As much as I wish it was me that had left this green earth, or that I could have gone with you, that’s not my reality. You are truly irreplaceable, my love. My baby, my boy, my hammy. My Potato.