My first dog was Mia. She was a yellow lab. She gave slobbery kisses and peed in the house. It’s one of the answers I always give to those security questions “Name of first pet,” or whatever. Please don’t steal my identity. Mia was a puppy when I got her. We would attach her to a long leash in the front yard and she would wriggle out of it and run away sometimes. I don’t remember much about her. She was still a puppy when, one time, my mom and I were sitting in the living room. My mom was on the computer, a desktop computer, the one where she once made a website with a photo of me as a super hero on it for her class. I was so embarrassed I told her she needed to take it down and I cried. I was wearing long johns and underwear over top of them with a blanket as a cape. My later-to-be step dad was watching something on TV-maybe The Simpsons. I don’t ever remember a time in that trailer when The Simpsons weren’t on TV.
We heard a screeeeeeeech of tires outside our window, which was right next to the main road. This is the main road that other, normal people drove on to get to their normal two story houses. It had two yellow lines down the middle. The trailer park roads were all gravel, sometimes barely paved. My mom looked out the window and told me to stay inside. The windows were open because it was summer and, as you might have guessed, we did not have central air, which is also why the screeeech was so disruptive. She and Jeff walked outside and I could hear, vividly, as vividly as I hear it today, through the window, “This your dog?” (Inaudible, or at least, inaudible in my memory because it didn’t matter because yes, that was our dog, response) “Ran right out in front of my truck.”
He had a cop accent. I hated cops when I was little because I somehow had the idea in my head that if I went to the police for anything, they would take me away from my mom. Or they would take my mom away from me. I wasn’t wrong. I think I had this idea from when they arrested her and she was gone for a few days or how everyone around me growing up always called them pigs. Except for my uncle, who is a cop, and my grandparents who are fundamentalist Christians and are proud of my uncle for being a cop. Or how my mom told me, when I threatened to go to the police, that I would never see her again and is that what I wanted? Do you know what a cop accent is? Men in the military also adopt it as their own…sometimes. He sounded like he had chewing tobacco in his mouth and I picture him wearing a camo baseball cap, with some guns in the back of his truck. That’s the kind of place we lived in, even the surrounding areas that you got to by following roads with the yellow lines.
The next thing I remember is my later-to-be stepfather burying a heavy industrial garbage bag-the black kind that that people use for cleaning out their garage or putting debris in when they renovate a house. He cried. Before that day, I had never seen a man cry. I hated him. I thought it was his fault. Somehow. He was crying and he put her in the ground. We had another dog. Daisy. We got rid of her because she was too bad. I don’t remember. And then we got Betsy, which was coincidentally, my best friend’s name. “We have to get her,” I said, “It’s Betsy.” Later-to-Be stepdad would come home and hit her almost every night for peeing on the carpet. Drunk, he and my mom would fight and she would send him outside to sleep on the hammock in our front yard. I prayed for her every night and I thanked God for making that man’s truck hit Mia.