’You can live without money, you can even go hungry. But you cannot live without a friend.’ That’s what my dad said before putting the dog into my unsuspecting arms. I nearly dropped him, when I felt his puppy paws on my hands.
“Dad, I cannot take care of myself, how will I take care of this dog?!” I yelled.
“He’s not going to be a burden; we are going to train him so that he can take care of you, Bo.”
”All the other boys will walk their dogs and mine will walk me.” I sneered. No reply. There was silence. No one ever says anything back to me anymore. They become silent and wait till I cool down.
“It’s alright Bo.”
“We understand honey.”
“This is not you talking.”
“We know how difficult this is for you.” Mum would say rubbing my back and then bursting into tears. That was the most frustrating one. I had to quench my anger and tell mum that I am okay.
I am not okay. I do not feel okay. My world will never be okay. I once had dreams and -things to look forward to- but now everything is just dark.
“He is a Golden retriever” mom told me “didn’t you always want one?”
“No I didn’t,” I hissed back. We both knew that was a lie. When I was little I wanted a Golden retriever. Dad put the puppy back in my lap; I was ready for him this time.
But I was not done yet. I was still angry at my parents for forcing me into this. “I am never going to get out of high school. Let alone get a job or be independent.” I said, “It is bad enough you have to take care of me- I can’t take care of this thing.” I complained.
“You leave that to me, and you are not getting it so easy. You are not off the hook Bo.” Dad said with a chuckle. “You are going to finish high school and get a job and take care of yourself someday.”
“Can’t you cut this poor boy some slack?” I asked laughing a little.
I could hear him make little puppy noises, the little fella. “So he is a Golden retriever” I asked dad trying very hard to sound disinterested.
“Yes he is adorable.” dad said cheerily, “I wish you could -”
“Chen!” mum yelled at dad.
“It’s ok mum, I am sure he’s adorable” I said with a weak smile.
I was not always blind you know. In fact I had perfect vision. Not a problem; never even needed glasses.
The accident changed everything. For a long time after I just lay on my bed. They force fed me and tried to engage me- made me listen to songs on the radio. They gave away the Television and the computer. Everyone used the radio at home.
One day I was straining hard to hear the birds, straining my left ear. For some strange reason it made mum happy. I guess she was worried I would give up. Believe me I have thought of that. I even thought if killing myself, but how? Trying to kill yourself when you are blind is not easy.
I now use my ears like Instruments. I imagine it’s funny- but no one ever laughs. I heard him whimper again.
When I was very young I wanted a Golden retriever, but was afraid the boys would make fun of me. I had always wanted nonetheless.
When I touched him, he felt nothing like a Golden retriever, he probably didn’t look anything like I imagined him to be. But that’s okay, I was happy about that. You see, golden retriever pups are the ugly ducklings of the puppy world, they suddenly become this beautiful animal with a bouncy furry tail lush fur and twinkling eyes.
“So, what are you going to name him?” mum asked me all chirpy.
“Oh you dint name him yet; let’s call him Ming… little Ming.”
“Ming? That is such cute name for him” mum clapped in happiness.
“No no… his name is little Ming.”
Little Ming was trembling slightly, closed his eyes and calmed down when I started humming, and gently stroked his little fuzzy ears.
– Prithvi Yadama
Read more of his works in our book – ‘Of Blood and Ink’