fiction

Sometimes Your Heart is Just too Big a Prose

Sometimes Your Heart is Just Too Big

As you get older you learn various “rules of thumb”; your meat portion should be about the size of your palm, 1 1/2 cup water for every cup of rice and so forth. You also learn little tidbits along the way that have no real business being in your brain but remain there while your mother’s birthday falls into nothingness. One thing that stuck with me was of these sorts, trivial and nonsensical: “your heart is the size of your fist”. Factoids like this not only stick with me but make me wonder if my life would have been different knowing this sooner. More often than not my life would be almost identical despite any fringe theories of the butterfly effect. This fact wouldn’t have changed anything but I wonder if it would have altered my perception of Roscoe. 

Roscoe was a Rottweiler and my earliest childhood companion, so this had me wondering;But what if you are a Dog? Does it Apply? Is the size of my fist or the size of his paw? Regardless Roscoe the Rottweiler’s heart was too big. He didn’t live as as long as he should have, I’m not sure if anything ever does. I remember coming home from kindergarden, My dad picked me up and I noticed something was different. He seemed quiet and sad. I didn’t know what was wrong and I hoped that it would just go away. I talked about the letters I learned and the mean kid at lunch that had to pull a card. It was quiet all the way home. My dad lifted me up out of the car opened our front door and put me on the couch in the living room where my mom was waiting for me. She looked sad too. That’s when they told me. Roscoe died. I asked why and they said that his heart was too big and made it hard for his body to work. This didn’t make sense to me, I came from kindergarden where everything is made to fit. The triangle goes in the triangle hole and the dog heart always fits in the dog. It was the first time I contemplated death. Not for long because before too many tears had fallen I was introduced to Lambchop the Beanie baby.

I don’t know if I ever asked where he went But I know I thought about it. I knew he had to still be somewhere, things just don’t disappear. So I put him with  the things I know about but don’t see.  I first pictured him in the North Pole, playing with reindeer, chasing the elves around and leaving a big slobber stain on Santa’s robes that Ms. Clause had just set out. I didn’t know if my big dog would like the snow but I had faith that Mr. and Mrs. Clause would take care of him. As I got a little bit older that fantasy faded and a new one took over.  When I was six my great grandfather died and thats when I realized that things go away a lot more often then I thought and there probably wasn’t enough room in the North Pole for everyone. So I asked them where Grandpa Bud went and It was a place called heaven.

I was told that heaven was made of everything you loved and filled with whomever you loved . For me that was hello kitty and rainbows. I pictured Roscoe running up the arch, being unable to slow down in time, he would slip down the rainbow and land in some spotty dotty cloud formation.  Roscoe liked cats so I figured there wouldn’t be to much of problem if hello kitty was around. After another year passed I got some interesting information about heaven. I was taught that there was guy who lived in heaven with his dad and his name was Jesus. It bothered me that Roscoe would live with someone I didn’t know. Question’s spurred, Is Jesus a kid? Then why does he live with his dad? Does he like dogs? Does he like cats? Does he know me? What does he do? That’s when they told me that Jesus was a shepherd. I didn’t know much about shepherds or what they did so I asked for a picture. It was of a guy with a blanket draped over his head and a large stick surrounded by sheep. I didn’t know how Roscoe would like sheep but I knew dogs liked sticks and Jesus had a pretty tall one.

I was content with Roscoe running through rolling green hills chasing after lost sheep until one day in fourth grade. My teacher told the class that dogs didn’t go to heaven despite the antics of the popular cartoon. I didn’t know what to think and  I didn’t know where Roscoe could be. Sure he was in a ceramic jar in the cupboard but where was the dog i jockeyed as an infant where was the dog that ate my socks.

It is still a question I am hesitant to answer. Where is that dog. Where is Roscoe. I like the fantasies I had but they’ve been ruined and I refuse to believe something that I loved is still in my Mother’s cupboard and that is all that is left of him. I know I can believe whatever I want but I am old enough to know that believing in something doesn’t make it true. The only thing that I know to still be true is that Roscoe’s heart was too big.

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