Doriana Mercado has a 10-year career in Hospitality Sales and Marketing. Most recently, she decided to continue her high-level education at Full Sail University, where she plans to use her dedicated work ethic to build upon her passion for creative writing. Her love for movies, theatre, and books keep her inspired to tell unique stories. She hopes to share her work with the world and leave her literary footprint.
Doriana resides in Orlando, Florida with her supportive parents and her 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Roscoe Jenkins. Coolest dog in the zip code.
Apartment 212. Cold. Four walls and a 12-inch television set spouting out endless useless commercials of holiday feasts and favor. What do I know about holiday feasts? I haven’t had a solid meal in days. I don’t even think I’ve left the couch in days. It’s just become so hard to understand the point of it all.
My only family was Jenkins, my dog. A 9 pound Yorkshire Terrier who had a 10 feet tall personality. He made getting up in the morning worthwhile. He needed me. Often jumping onto my chest to wake me up each morning. His grey and golden hair would brush my face as he licked my eyeballs to wake up for his morning walk. Which was okay. He enjoyed spending time with me, which was more than I could say for my father when he was alive. Jenkins and I would take long walks around the neighborhood as he barked at anyone who came near me. Some people may think that was rude, but I felt like he was the one living thing that truly protected me. Loved me.
After 10 years of Jenkins by my side, my best friend’s growls and cries were silenced. His boisterous energy taken away from him as the cancer spread through his tiny little body. I failed him somehow. I had one job to give him the best life and after only 10 years, I failed him. I should have figured out a way. Cancer took my grandparents, my parents and now my best friend. When would it take me? I wish it would.
Just a week ago today I was left with only his toys to surround me and memories to comfort me. A raggedy old pillow where Jenkins fell asleep each night still lay on the floor next to me. I haven’t left this old blue couch. Sometimes I can still feel him running around this apartment. Sometimes I pretend he’s still here. It’s just empty without him.
Tonight I hear the kid upstairs jumping up and down. Maybe they got a dog? I hope they got a dog. Dogs are the best. They listen to you, they hear you, they comfort you. I need some comforting. Flipping through the channels searching for something to fill this gaping hole I pop open another warm piss beer to go with my ice cold heart.
What if I ended my life right here, right now? Would I be greeted with family on the other side? Jenkins on the other side? My Catholic background tells me I wouldn’t. However, I haven’t been to church in so long, maybe those rules don’t apply anymore. I’m just expediting the process anyway. The evitable demon that we all suffer hugs me like a sweater even as Christmas carols are sung to try and make you forget how lonely life is. I know better. Santa Claus can’t save me neither can Jesus.
I rolled off the couch for the first time in days. Making my way to the kitchen in effort to find some source to end this guilt and emptiness. On the fridge was a picture of Jenkins. Smiling with his tongue curled with excitement. Reminding me of a time when I was happy. That was a good day. That particular day we went to the dog park. He ran and ran and ran some more. Free.
I met a girl that day. She was kind and pretty in a different kind of way. Short. Long wavy blonde hair with the prettiest brown eyes I have ever seen. I can’t really explain it. She just felt like someone I could get to know and looked like someone I wanted to know. Jenkins jumped into her lap and licked her face a dozen times. Her laugh was infectious. I couldn’t believe it. He never jumped on strangers. Her name was Julia. I remember because she placed her phone number in my phone. Asked me to call her. I never did.
How lucky I am to have had this little dude as a companion and wingman. What would he want me to do? Why does he matter so much? It’s a dog. He was my dog, the best dog.
Before me was a bottle of hydrocodone that I had been stocking up since my knee surgery this past summer. I could end it now. Holding the bottle of pills in my hand, I took another look at that photo. Jenkins smile, his golden hair blowing in the wind. Happiness. I wanted happiness. I don’t want to die. I want happiness.
It hit me. Jenkins. Julia. He wanted me to meet her. She wanted me to call and I never did. Could this be a chance at happiness? What if I missed out? What if she forgot about me? I could feel Jenkins pouncing with approval. I dusted my phone off from Cheetos debris and searched for her name in my contacts. I called… she picked up.