I paused at the residential blind intersection to allow two stray pit bulls to pass. My eyes bounced back and forth between the two nearly identical brown and white dogs with synchronized gait, and my feverish Eden in the back seat of the car who was kicking her foot in time with the music, surprisingly content even in her illness.
When the dogs had passed we proceeded for half a block where I left Eden with her Grandpa for daycare. I was anxious to drop her off, because I was anxious to get to my hearing, because I was anxious to be done with my courtroom obligations so that if she needed me, I would be able to leave. She'd had a wavering fever for nearly two days and though she seemed to be improving, I wanted to be available for her.
As I climbed back into my car the phone rang over the speakers, notifying me that Marcos was calling. We were discussing Eden's health as I turned right and headed to Panorama, one of the main streets on my way to my office. At the stop sign, I froze.
One of the brown and white pit bulls lay dead in the busy road, right in front of my dutifully stopped car. A small piece of tire was strewn at his head, indicating that perhaps the driver that struck him had attempted to brake and was somewhere around the bend in a location blinded from my point of view. Over the speakers, Marcos continued his discussion regarding the plan for Eden if her fever rose again.
I stared at the dead dog, rattled by his large, still body. My eyes searched frantically for his partner, wondering how he had survived when the two were trotting side by side when I saw them.
In a quick instant my mind reviewed the unpreserved dead bodies that I had witnessed in my life. First Sean, six feet tall, stiff and unmoving despite my urgent pleas. Then Gabriel, tiny and delicate, his life slipping and giving way to rigor mortis within my hands. There are worse things than a dead dog but as he lie there in front of me this dog's death seemed like the most tragic thing in the world.
Somewhere his twin was wandering alone, or perhaps in his grief and disarray he too had been struck, or soon would be. What would he do, all by himself? How would he get by on his own? How was he supposed to go on without his other half? I imagined him huddled out of sight, whimpering, perhaps injured himself, surely heartbroken.
"I know it's upsetting but Eden's health is important." Marcos tried to draw me back into the conversation, but I couldn't be pulled from the moment. Eden had been sick for nearly two days and we didn't know why. In the seat next to me a file that I had only glimpsed waited for handling at a hearing that I didn't want to attend. My mind was fractured with my many obligations, my full-time career and the pending hearing, the other files begging for my attention, my part-time bartending gig that would occupy that evening, my meeting with the new mock trial teacher coach that had taken place the day before, the Magic Mullet Run donation requests that still needed follow-up, the baby growing inside of me, and the baby growing up before my very eyes who wasn't feeling very well. Still, all I could think of in that moment was the dog. Not the one who, based on the timeline of events, must have died instantly, but the one left to make his way all alone. What was he going to do now?