My Heart Still Aches
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I remember it like it was yesterday. The smell of fresh mown grass, the hum of late summer, a drowsy warm somnolent haze; and the screaming. It took me a long time to realise it was me who was screaming. To start with it was just a counterpoint to the other screams. The ones that followed the skid and squeal of tires. And that dreadful thud. Nothing can erase those sounds from my mind, no amount of time, or trying to pretend it didn't happen that way. I suppose it should be considered ironic. Most of my life is snatches of thousand times rewritten dialogue, nothing like the original circumstance from which it evolved. And long patches of formless mundania, not even worth logging in the faulty mechanism I call a memory.

But this was different. Life defining. World ending. Shattering.

It hurt.

It hurt so badly.

My heart still aches.

Why is it the things you wish you could forget haunt you. Wake you up choking on a scream that can't escape your mouth. Leave you huddled in a ball of misery at the stupidest of times? I don't understand it, personally, you would think the good things would hang closer, glow brighter, the laughter times, the joy times… Not the pain, the hurt, the suffering you wish you could forget.

I held him. For so long afterwards. Even after the light had faded from his eyes and he was nothing but a limp bloodied husk. Death comes to us all, but he was so young, it was so unfair. And I had lost my best friend. Being left behind must be worse than death a thousand times over, death is an ending. Losing someone is the beginning of something so horrible.

My heart still aches.

I don't like to go back to that spot, though I have to pass it a dozen times a day to get anywhere. I'd like to stay inside and never leave the safety of my bed. But the dreams haunt me worst there. It's so empty without his warmth and company, he was always there. And now he is gone. We did everything together. He went with me, by my side, my silent sentinel that made everything safe. How I miss his presence. He was brave, ever present, funny. He always knew when I was scared or low and did his best to bring cheer back to my heart. You couldn't have asked for a better friend. People said afterwards I should get a new friend. Like it was that easy, to just replace someone, have them fill that gap. Such callous words, such stupid callous words.

I wish the pain would end.

We'd met when we were both younger. It had been an instant bond, and we'd been inseparable. I couldn't stay mad at him, even when he made me so wild I wanted to scream and rant. We loved each other too much to stay mad. It's hard to continue day after day with the emptiness not having him around has left. Someone gave me a cat, told me it would keep me company, help ease the lonely ache. Cats are dreadful creatures. Selfish and aloof. This one had an evil streak too. Bare legs were scratching posts, doors a place to wait in ambush, and the kitchen was a free for all warzone. The cat lives outside now. I see it sometimes, stalking unwary victims like the serial murderer it is. He would never have put up with it, he wasn't a cat lover either.

How I miss him so much.

I had him cremated, I know he would have rather been buried under his favourite tree, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. Selfish of me, I hope wherever he's gone he forgives me. I have a lock of his hair, I keep it in my jewellery box, with the other precious things that remind me of him. His collar, his favourite ball, and that comb he hated, just because it makes me smile remembering how often he would steal it and hide it.

I miss you my friend. No other dog could ever replace you.

I remember.

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