The boy loved his dog. His dog’s name was Buddy, but this gave no true insight into the depth of their friendship.
Whenever the boy was at school he wished he were with his buddy. He would be lost in his mind thinking about how, if he didn’t have school, he could spend so much more time with his dog.
He would think about how they would play together, run together, and be happy together. He would think about how much he wished nothing bad would happen to Buddy before he got a chance to see him next, and he would think about how much he would hurt anyone who dared do anything bad to his Buddy.
The boy would come home from school and pat his friend on the head before losing himself in his game. He would think about how he should really be playing with Buddy, and that he would definitely spend some time with Buddy after just one more level.
When the boy did spend time with Buddy he would play and run and laugh and think about how he didn’t want to lose his dog. He would throw Buddy’s ball while thinking about how much losing him would hurt. He would run through the park with Buddy and think about how empty a world would be without him. The boy’s eyes would often well up and he would think about how Buddy is here now, and that he should just enjoy the time they have. But what if he wasn’t here? The boy would imagine.
Time passed and I cannot say the boy got better. He would still play with his friend, now and then, into his Buddy’s old age and as the reality of loss and the scarcity of time befell the boy’s mind he would spend more time there, in his mind. Buddy would bark for attention but the boy would say, “But what if I lost you?” and Buddy would bark, sniff and lick some more and the boy would continue, “How can I be happy when I know that one day you will be gone? Or an accident might happen and I will lose you so much sooner. I love you Buddy.”
What more can I say about the boy? He kept on this way and no accidents tragically befell his dog. His dog continued to strive for his friend’s attention until, eventually, old age wore his body down and Death herself came one night and, with the gentleness and love of a new mother, picked him up and carried him off, as she does with all dogs.
Then the boy cried.
He cried and he screamed and he yelled out in all his anguish, “Why didn’t I just enjoy my time with Buddy. If I knew he was going to live this long I would have worried so much less.” And the boy sat on his heels with his face in his palms, tears creeping through the cracks in his fingers, having learned nothing.