Last night, my childhood dog died. His name was Wilfred, and he was an 11.5-year-old French Bulldog.
My parents adopted him when I was 19 years old. And while I was no longer technically considered a child, Wilfred was the only pet my family had. So, for lack of better words, he was indeed my childhood dog.
And besides, I think we can all agree that 19-year olds can still act like immature babies.
I wish I were dreaming or even mindlessly making up a story for the claps and views on Medium. But it’s the truth. The only dog I ever owned is now dead.
A few months ago, Wilfred was diagnosed with a heart tumor. Because of his old age (Frenchies rarely live past 12 or 13), surgery wasn’t a realistic option, and Wilfred was only given a few more months to live.
And last night at midnight, I got “the call.”
Between their tears and muffled breaths, my parents told me they were taking him in to get euthanized. His condition took a turn for the worse, and he spent the previous few hours refusing to walk, drink, or even open his eyes.
“There’s nothing left we can do,” they cried.
Now, in normal circumstances, I would have jumped out of bed and driven like a madwoman across town to see them. After all, it was my dog. My only pet. My little smooshed-nosed Wilfred.
But my parents live in the United States. And me? Well, I’m 5,264 miles away in Germany.
There was nothing I could do except hold the phone to my ear.
I sat there in the darkness listening to their frantic shuffling and wails as they tried to pack up Wilfred’s blankets and toys for the drive to the vet. Not a single tear swelled in my eye. I couldn’t even cry for my dog, who’s precious life was ticking down like a bomb waiting to detonate.
After hanging up the phone, I turned to my boyfriend, who in a half-awake state, immediately realized what the late-night phone call from my parents meant. He wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled my neck in comfort.
My brain knew that in just a few minutes, my dog would be gone.
But my emotions — those painful, achy feelings of death and loss— simply weren’t there.
I could only think about the feeling of my boyfriend’s breath on my neck. My body drew closer to his, and the heat of his skin started to awaken something inside of me.
And at that exact moment, I didn’t want to think about my dead dog. I only wanted to have sex.
Now, I know as a sex writer, sex is something that often crosses my mind.
But am I the type of person who thinks about it in the middle of the night? Getting horny after talking to my parents about euthanizing my pet? Knowing that he was probably drifting off into eternal sleep while I was getting fucked?
There’s a special place in hell for people like that.
I’ll admit — writing is a great form of communication. And through my writing, I can easily communicate my deepest thoughts and darkest feelings in a presumably clear way.
But in person? I feel nothing.
When I say nothing, I don’t mean in a depressed, negative sense. I mean more like actual nothing.
Nada. Blank. Empty. Completely void of emotion.
No, when I say nothing, I mean, you could have spent the next four hours scouring my brain for one ounce of heartbreak about my soon-to-be-dead dog and come back up for air with literally, nothing.
Maybe it’s because I knew this day would come. After all, pets — like people —inevitably die. And the ones that have fatal heart tumors seem to die a whole lot sooner.
Perhaps the nothingness comes from the distance. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t be there in person. Not just for Wilfred’s sake, but for my parents, who would soon be completely alone after their only child flees to Germany, and their only pet dies from an illness.
Or maybe I’m just unempathetic.
I’ve always thought about my lack of emotion as a blessing. When I receive negative criticism, I take it with a grain of salt. When a guy breaks up with me, I hold my head up high and move forward. And apparently, when my dog dies, I think of sex.
But at the end of the day, I don’t think I’m as strong as that last paragraph really makes me seem.
So if that’s not the case, then why do I feel so empty? Why can’t I accept sadness or pain? Why do I resort to orgasms and sex in desperate times of need?
The pathetic and probable reality is — I need to feel loved.
And the only way I know how to process love is through physical touch. The world could be burning down (and in 2020, it actually is), but as long as I have someone to comfort me, things don’t seem half bad.
I don’t want to accept he’s gone. I just want everything to feel normal. And while I’m having sex — even if just for a few minutes — the world actually does.
It might not be the healthiest way to process pain or loss or even death, but it’s my way.
Maybe one day it’ll hit me that Wilfred is actually gone. And when I finally do get to go home, I’ll realize he won’t be waiting at the door or begging for tummy rubs.
But until then, his smiley, smooshy face will keep me happy.
Well, that and all those orgasms, too.