This is a story I wrote last year during a free-writing workshop. It had to be 250 words exactly. I wrote it from Brutus’ point of view. It was right after he’d been diagnosed with bladder cancer and we were struggling every day to get him to eat enough that I could give him medicine.
Morning Chow for Brutie (2006-2020)
She’s crying. She sits on the floor next to me, trying to entice me to take food from her hand. Her frustration grows as I turn my head and clench my teeth. Why is so she so mad at me? I’m not bad, but my stomach hurts and every bite makes the pain harder to bear.
You have to eat, she says, and a lot of other words come out of her mouth. Some loud, some watered with the tears that spring from these morning ordeals. I don’t understand them all, but I understand the tears and her sadness hurts worse than the pain in my stomach. It hurts worse than when she raises her voice and yells at me.
I want to make her happy. She’s happy when I eat. I know this because if I eat, she gives me a shot which makes her clap and cheer. Then I get cheese which makes me happy. She thinks I don’t know there’s a pill wrapped in it, but I know.
She picks up another kibble. Please, she says. Her voice is so sad, I take the bite and force myself to chew—slowly so as not to give my stomach reason to rebel.
I don’t understand all her words, but some are repeated enough that I can almost make meaning out of them. Tumor. Medicine. Time.
I don’t know what time is. I’m not a watch dog. But I know she’s crying again so I slowly take another bite.