Of creatures and lonely people by Guadalupe Gonzales

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Had it not been for the four trees that border and shade this spot that he so carefully chose to be his final resting place, I would have probably passed it by. Just a simple unhoned stone marked his gravesite. As I stood there I noticed that weeds had already started to obstruct a smaller stone which I had placed there soon after he passed on. And as I groomed the gravesite, I began to think back on this.

It had been four years ago when I had come to visit my cousins in the neighboring township. While walking the countryside, I had somehow wandered off and became lost. While trying to find myself back, I came across this beautiful stretch of land which I thought to be a park. I later found out that it was a cemetery. I kept walking hoping that perhaps I'd find a caretaker, but found no one. Soon after though, I heard a dog barking, and decided to follow it to its source. Then just over an incline, I saw a cabin. At the door was a man, and beside him a little dog. He was an older man, late seventies, perhaps early eighties, but still stood quite erect. He welcomed me inside and offered me some cool water. He said he knew I was lost because no one ever ventured to this part of the woods. Little did I know then that I would become his closest human friend. Unto this day I really don't know that much about him, for he never spoke of anyone special, or even of his family. I was 16 at the time, and so was very curious of how it was that he had come to live way out here, and all alone. He told me that his grandmother had raised him, but that she had long since passed away. She was buried in the cemetery nearby. He had fallen in love with this area and had acquired this land and that he too would be buried there. From then on I became a regular visitor.

On my subsequent visits, I began to notice the great love he had for his little dog. She would eat off his plate, and drink from his cup. He almost always had her in his arms, or cuddled up in his lap. He treated her as if she was his loving daughter. He never left her side. School came and went and through it all I continued to visit them at least once a week. Two years passed when I began to notice that he was not as spry as when I first met him. It was during these visits that he began to talk about him not being around too much longer. I would always try to change the subject. however he would continued on because of his concern for his beloved doggie. I cannot deny it, I too had become very attached to her.

As much as I did not want to hear about his last plan, I had to for her sake. I found myself visiting more often now, and when he wasn't feeling well I would stay over. He made it clear that he didn't want any outside contact and that the hospital was the last place he wanted to be. He would rather die at home. I can only feel that he must have known that he was soon to die for he asked me to take his most beloved possession. That I should take her home with me. He would bequeath everything to me so that I would have the means to care for her.

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