Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dog's Eye View

Everything falls apart,
Then I get to try to put it back together
Everything falls apart,
And you can count on that like you can count on bad,
bad weather again

- Dog's Eye View, Everything Falls Apart

Just a couple of weeks ago, I received an SMS from a good friend that her puppy had died -- her 4-month old puppy that she had just adopted not too long before that. Anyone who says that I'm completely detached and devoid from the animal world is not lying. But for some reason, that message I got pinched the ends of my heart strings and I found myself getting a bit more despondent than I had anticipated.

For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to step in the elusive world of pets. I never understood it and I never appreciated it, but I thought to myself, what the heck? There must be something that I'm not seeing that other people are. Unfortunately, I did not get far enough to be completely enamored by it but I did get pretty damn far for a beginner. For a few weekends, I spent time at the park with my friend training the little pup how to walk and how to mingle in the real world. Being around him was a bit awkward at first -- sort of like getting to know someone for the first time -- but I eventually started opening up. I began looking forward to our little sessions and time together. Not just with my friend, but also with our new little weekend companion.

And then the bomb dropped. He died. Just like that -- no warning at all. He apparently fell and he didn't make it. The details are hazy as I couldn't get it out of my friend and I felt it was inappropriate to prod some more. She was clearly devastated and I expected nothing less.

My short-lived experience with pets reminded me greatly of many encounters that I've had with people. One cannot blame me for keeping my guards up more often than it is down. I have learned the hard way -- through numerous instances -- that just because you have let people in your doors doesn't mean they're there to stay. And the disappointments are like the biting wind in a harsh winter's day. And even worse, some don't even walk out of the same door that they used coming in. Rather, they sneak out of the windows without you realizing it. No goodbyes, no farewells.

Just. Like. That.

I simply cannot count how many people I have met and struck friendships with my entire life. However, I may only need one hand to count those people who have managed to stay. And I am eternally grateful for people like them because they let me keep what little faith I have left in the human race.

The funny thing is -- I don't like keeping my doors closed or my curtains drawn. I hate it. I loathe being inside practically alone and on my own. However, better the devil that I know, no? I'd rather be by myself enshrouded by my dull security blanket than let people paint colorful events in my life without necessarily knowing if I will like it or not. One can only get burned so many times. As a matter of fact, I'm still trying to put gather together the ashes of my memories that have been caught in flames once upon a time.

Letting people in our lives is perhaps one of the biggest gambles we can ever take. Whenever we wear our hearts on our sleeves, we actually risk getting our shirts stolen right off our backs. And I've only gotten one heart -- too bad God didn't think of giving us two just like he did with kidneys. But surely He has good reason for doing that. It's just something I still have yet to figure out.

When everything falls apart, that's when we find out who sticks around to help us put things back together again -- even when the doors and windows are wide open and in full view. It hurts to see those people whom you expect the most from slowly tiptoe-ing towards the back door. That's when we learn to keep it closed -- not because we are wary of who else might go out, but because we are wary of who might come in and do it all over again.

Perhaps it is true that dogs are a man's best friend. I heard they stay loyal until the end. But I don't like dogs. Where does that leave me?