Whilst most people experience their first heartbreaks at a later stage in their lives, I experienced mine before I turned 8. The story I am about to share with you might seem trivial to most, but if I am being honest, I am still nursing this heartbreak to date. I do not know why I felt convicted to share this story but if someone learns or takes something from it, well then, good.
I am going to take you back to my childhood, when we used to live in Chitungwiza Zengeza 3 and my only problem was getting in the house before my parents came back from work. If I am being honest, I had a pretty awesome childhood, playing mahumbwe (house), maflawu, nhodo, raka raka etc. I love that part of my life and I never want to part with it. Ok, back to the reason why I am writing this post, I hope you are ready because I am going to take you back to a Zimbabwe where electricity rarely went, rice and chicken was only for special occasions and no one had the internet so we all had to play outside.
The year was 2001 ( Grade 1) and I remember him waiting for me outside to escort me to school. At least that is the earliest memory of him. He was said to be a family dog, but if we are being honest, Spider was my dog and that is how I will always remember him. We have different stories but I believe mine is more sustainable. Spider was and is the best dog I have ever had the privilege to own or experience ever. He was special, almost human if you ask me. He used to escort me to school and when we finished, I would find him by the school gate waiting for me. If I am being honest, it might seem as if I am just saying this for effect but I promise you, until this day I am amazed at how protective he was. I do not know if he would stay outside for me (he followed me inside a couple of times.) or if he would go home then come back for me. From the vivid memories I have of him, he was a black and white dog who I have come to learn was a flat coated retriever.
If you are familiar with Zimbabwe’s folklore/superstitious history, you might be familiar with the story of an old lady who carried a baby on her back and would walk around asking for water. Legend has it, she was actually a witch and if you gave her water, instead of drinking water, she would be drinking the blood of the first born in your family. And the baby she carried on her back, was actually a corpse. I do not know how far true it was but most of us suffered at the hands of this grandma who was prowling the streets of the ghetto targeting the oldest child.
Just to segue a bit, if this had happened a few years later, I would have gladly waited for that grandma and gave her a gallon of water because my sister stapled my foot and I would have done anything to avenge. Thank the Lord I am saved, I might not avenge but who knows. Anyway, back to Spider, yes, so when all this was happening, my parents told the person who was looking after us to lock the door as soon as we got back from school. However, Spider and I had our space just behind the house which we used to sneak out and go on our adventures without any restrictions. He would warn me if my dad was coming back from work. When he saw my father’s Peugeot 504 from a distance, he would start barking running towards the house and that would be my cue to run into the house and pretend as if I was doing my homework. I used to sneak him into the house but that was short lived because he would be found and would be sent outside.
I remember this other day, it was raining and I had brought him into the house, so much to my mom’s dismay, she chased him away and I went out with him. I am not proud to admit this, but I went into his kennel with him. I was sticking up for my friend ok? Do not judge me. It was unfair that it was raining and they had to send him outside by himself. Not fair! I do remember being bitten by fleas (thank God I was not bitten by any ticks).
As much as Spider was a perfect dog, he sure did get my father into trouble. Lets just say, he wasn’t as protective or nice to the other kids. They were more like game to him, though I feel he was misunderstood, he was just a hyper dog who loved to play. So in return, we got this:
However, our friendship/bond was short lived because just before we moved from Chitungwiza in 2003, about a year prior, he went missing. If I tell you even up to now, I have never cried like that in my life! I cried, weeped, sobbed, wailed, and even now thinking about it makes my eyes sting. We just woke up and he was gone. He was never one to runaway and he always came home before 8pm because that was the final roll call to lock the gate. So, no, he did not run away. I searched for him, asked people, went to the places we used to hang and would go to houses where they had several dogs in search for him but we never found him.
My dad’s theory ( though I am a bit skeptical about it ) is that he was stolen and was sold to people from the East because that was around the time they started coming to Zimbabwe. And just like that, I lost my friend and experienced my first ever heartbreak. We tried to get other dogs, we had 2 other Spider’s and a Bolt ( he was the first dog we tried to keep in the house but that did not last because he used to feast on everyone’s shoes.)
I tried to fill that void of the dog I lost when I was young but it was never filled. I catch myself thinking about him. Was he scared? Did he ever look or cry for me? Did he ever try to find his way back and now that its been over 15 years, I think a lot about how he might have died. Its incredibly sad that I will never have closure but knowing that I was blessed enough to have such a friend at a young age makes me hopeful for my future kids. I plan to have one for them too, their own Spider, though they can name him/her whatever they like.
So yeah, I just thought I would share some of the things that go through my mind when I am not plotting a story or just lazying about. I do not know why I shared this, maybe to give an insight into my life or just for the sake of sharing.
Side note: I just pray if my future husband bumps into this post, hear me out, I would very much love it if you proposed to me with a new puppy who we will raise as our own and start a new chapter with. Preferably this breed: