Once I was asked in a writing club, who do you think you are writing to? I didn’t have a good answer then, but I liked my friend Nancy’s—she imaged she’s writing to a daughter she never had (yet), only that daughter is somehow of her age and thinks her thoughts.
I had an answer some time later.
Deuce was a dog, a young black and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, from 2011 to 2014. He is not any more. After he ceased to be, for years I could not watch any videos or hear any mentions of anything remotely close to the idea of him. I distanced myself from some friends because they kept sharing stories about their lively companions. It was a selfish thing to do but the only thing I could do.
Now that he is not simply a living thing, he becomes something abstract. In his life he was a symbol of unfettered joy and unbridled passion, now with his death he is a symbol of some beautiful pain, a melding of evermore longing and sadness. Like a young love that had blossomed and vanished, because it had vanished before ever getting muddy and complicated, it remained forever young. The only type of eternity that exists is the one that dies.
The best part about him, and about any dog that lived and died, is that each of them is some symbol like that to one human and one human only. Just like he was my dog, he is now my talisman, an anchor where all the loveliness and sadness in me could rest on. In the end his name resembles all the love that had lost in the pursuit, and all the regret that stayed behind. That name summons the strongest and purest, most sensitive and melancholy version of me.
That is what I am writing to.