Any Other Name

This is going to sound very silly. I’m aware of that.
I know how silly this is going to sound.
But when I was younger, I had a dog.
Not very silly so far. I’m aware of that.
But the thing is, I named the dog something very silly.
I named my dog Obsidian.
He wasn’t even black. He was white as snow. Pomeranian. I think sometimes
I should have named him Snowy. But I was young. I’d heard the
Word somewhere, and I liked the ring it had.
So I named my little dog Obsidian.
And I loved him. I did.
But we went on holiday, once. To France, I think.
Maybe Italy.
It was a long time ago, now.
Obsidian couldn’t come with us. He stayed at home, and a neighbour
Looked after him. I missed him, and I like to think he missed me.
But I wonder.
Because when we came back, he was sick.
Sick unto death, it turned out.
Our neighbour was beside himself. He’d been fine that morning, he said.
He felt terrible at what had happened. I think he grieved as much as we did.
He certainly gave us a run for who felt more responsible.
I was with him at the end. I had his head in my lap while we waited for the vet.
I petted him, I did my best to soothe him. Told him we’d go down to the river and
Play around the rocks.
He liked that.
But he didn’t stay.
We had a funeral. I insisted. My cousin came. Someone told her the dog’s name, and
She said Obsidian? What’s that?
And someone told her.
And I thought then, what I’ve thought since. It’s silly, I know. He’d choked, in the end.
On a bird. It was an accident. Would’ve happened if we’d been home or not, probably.
But maybe. Just maybe. If I’d have named him Snowy.
Maybe he’d have stayed a bit longer if I didn’t name him after fucking volcanic glass.

 

by Thomas Boyle

(prompts: Obsidian / Easier / I Want To Break Free)

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