My mouse died on a Sunday night. It was so strange, so sudden. Walking down the stairs to get my dinner, I stopped, stopped and noticed that one of my two mice was missing. It couldn't have escaped, I told myself. Rummaging through the heaps of bedding, a small head peeked out.
It's eyes were closed. It's mouth was agape.
It was dead.
I didn't quite know what to do then. I held it gingerly in my palm, and it was stiff and devoid of warmth. 'I suppose I must bury it', I then told myself. In the garden I shoveled a shallow pit for my mouse. It was dark, and I couldn't see. I couldn't even see when I had to pat down the earth around the small, frail frame. But it was probably better that way. I couldn't bear the sight of the carcass bloated, a mere shell of what used to be.
Later that night, as I poked at my dinner with disinterest, I would remember. Remember how my mouse used to scamper around, warm, lively, alive. I would approach their little nest, and even when they slept, their little ears pricked up when I was around. Then they would run rings around each other, and sniff longingly at the air. But that was mostly gone now. I continued eating, but it was cold. It was quiet now.
There used to be two of them, but only one remains now. There used to be two, and I'd see them play with each other. And in that small way, I suppose they did make me happy.
Was I a bad owner? Didn't I feed them enough or clean their cage often enough? Didn't I take note of the signs of ailment? I can't quite say.
As I ate my dinner, and I wondered. Why do people really bother keeping pets if they're just going to die someday? I have friends who wept buckets upon the death of a pet. I wonder if it's really worth the anguish.
I wasn't exactly lachrymose about a dead mouse, but it did leave a hollow ring in my ears when I told myself that she was gone. Really, is it worth it?
We just have to resign ourselves to the fact that life goes on, no?