By Adeline Ike
Why does life slip out from under our feet? My bad. I should probably explain how I got to this realization. I hope you feel the same way when you're done reading this. It was Tuesday, July 21st. Just me and my dog, Sami, taking a nice little walk on the road. I wish I could skip the embarrassment of this part, but oh well. When my dog decided to bolt, I tripped running after him and fell on my butt. At least I thought that's what happened.
I stayed on my butt for a bit, wondering if I should just leave him for good, but he was my only little companion at home, so I did what any person would probably do. I went after my pup. I even ignored that darn Dead End sign at the entrance of the street my dog ran down. I didn't even think anything about the red color of the words instead of the usual black.
It didn't even occur to me that there were absolutely no cars or people. I was too busy clonking my shoes angrily on the road. The one thing I did notice was every single house looked the same. There was a red line painted on everybody's doors too. That's when the first weird shiver ran through me. Without realizing it, my steps quickened, and my breathing became harsh...not that you really care about my breathing. I just thought it would sound good.
Back to the point, Toni.
Okay, so I didn't find my dog. At least yet. I clapped, and I whistled. I screamed at the sky for no reason too. It was truly hopeless. And to be honest, I thought about just leaving without him. It sounded like a good plan at that moment, but now that I'm writing it, it was stupid. Thank God a car drove past me very slowly and got my attention. It was a young girl. She didn't even look at me. She just drove. It was rude of her, but I forgive her now that I understand.
I decided to follow her. It seemed no one lived down the street, so why would she? And I thought maybe I'd find my dog while I was at it. So don't judge. Five minutes into the walk, I started to lose sight of the car, and it seemed the street went on forever. Each house still had the red mark, too. I stopped at one point. Only because I saw something new instead of the same plain house. It was an old lady sitting on a chair. Her door did not have a mark. She watched me intently like I didn't belong on the street. On the other side, two kids played, laughing and chasing each other. They both looked up when I passed.
chubby little faces looked wiser than any kids I'd ever seen. It was fear. They both ran back into their house. Their door was also blank of any mark.
I turned back to the old lady. She was gone, and her door was marked. Seconds later, I spotted her walking the road ahead. Just like I was before I stopped. I planned to talk to her, but I saw how many people were now outside in their yards. Houses that were unmarked. Each looked at me with a pang of sadness. I ignored them and caught up with the old lady. But the darn woman wouldn't even look at me. I couldn't stop her. Up ahead, a couple more people walked the road. I decided to follow. Eventually, I saw the gold fur, long paws, and fluffy tail. My dog. I got so excited. I thought I could leave. I thought it was over. Oh, but you keep reading.
I called my dog. He didn't listen. I walked up to my dog. He didn't even look at me. He just walked with the rest. He just trotted along with a mission in his eyes. A mission I wanted to stop.
Here it came. The part that I call the Dead End. The part where the sign way back at the entrance made sense. The part when I realized I was stupid.
The old woman, the one I made sure to keep my eyes on, was the first to hit it. I literally watched her disintegrate when she hit a wall of nothingness. Then went a man who did the same. Just gone. And my dog was next. But at the same time, he wasn't. Because I wasn't gonna let it happen. I bounced on the balls of my feet, trying to figure out what was happening. From the red marks on these people's doors to the way they marched this road with such pain. The way the people who didn't have a mark watched them. As if mourning them. As if these people were walking a path of death.
And boom. It hit me. Right there, it all made sense. And I knew what I had to do. Run.
I ran the opposite way. I pushed through the force that didn't like me turning around. Gusts of wind were dragging me toward the Dead End. But I fought. I pushed. I knew what I was fighting against. I knew the odds of me making it back were low. I knew that death was pulling me in. But I had a life back there. I had a family that loved me to pieces. I couldn't die today. The more I had a reason to go back, the lighter the gravity pulling me back dropped. Soon I was running for my life. Soon I was almost there. Soon I made it.
It was the sirens I heard first. But they were from a distance. Then it was the sun. Then I realized I was lying on my back. Blood was all over my hands as I brought them to my face. My heart thumped slowly, but I still fought.
My dog lay lifeless beside me, stiffening at the second. I sat up even though I felt like I was gonna pass out. I wasn't gonna give up on Sami. He didn't hit the Dead End yet. There was still time. I worked up the energy, and there I went. I pumped that precious heart of his. I even blew air into his mouth. I did this for so long. I about killed myself doing it. I screamed my dog's name, Sami. I cried for him to come back. I tried and tried.
Until...his chest heaved up and down. It was slow at first. But it worked. My dog came back. My dog ran against the force of death just like I had.
As he sat up, he licked my face. And I forgave him for putting us on death's path. We were both hit by a car when he ran unto the road and I went after him. I shouldn't be saying it so chill. We almost died that day.
We were still taken to the hospital, and we were taken care of. But what was really heavy on my mind was the people who didn't make it like me and my dog. It really made me realize how short our lives can be. Not everyone dies at an old age. Not everyone makes it. That experience changed my life. And now I live each day like it is my last. Because life can be swept from under our feet.