Writing 101 – Day Four: Serially Lost



We had to go. I had to bring my farewells to an end, my time was up. In less that 72 hours I would be thousands of miles away, we’d be thousand miles apart. This farewell was final, we wont be seeing each other for a very, very long time. On second thoughts, I wouldn’t see a lot  things for a very long time.  My house, my school mates, the friendly faces that lived on the other-side of our fences, all of it would take a step back from the next few chapters of my life.

My father spoke of this move before, apart from the hypothetical reality that lived in the conversation between me and my three brothers, it was only an idea. This idea had finally become a reality, my family was moving over to the United Kingdom, to the fruitful planes of sunny England. It was all exciting for us, of course it was. We would be stepping into a glorious new world.  Our spirits had acquired some vigour in the days leading up to the move. Each one of us, excited, fidgety, running away with this sweeping anticipation. We’d play as we normally did, running around the large yard, exercising our active imaginations. There was tree climbing, play fighting and the mandatory wrestle with our family pet to entertain us. A boisterous bundle of loyalty that dog was, dancing amongst our excitement. He had a knack for seizing any chance to partake in our merriment. “Jungle will love it there!” I thought to myself one day. I froze and examined the thought, letting reality wash over the statement “Jungle .. love it … there?”. Never has a more solemn realization hurtled down onto my joy, it shattered my ecstasy. I knew Jungle wouldn’t love it there, because jungle wasn’t going there.

At the age of six my family relocated. We moved from Zambians capital, Lusaka, to a town called Kitwe. We moved into a spacious house, with a very roomy yard, plenty of lawn space and a variety of trees accenting it, mango, guava, avocado, oranges, lemon … heaven. Its hard to forget the backdrop to so many of my childhood memories.

This is where we were introduced, Me and Jungle met for the very first time at that house. Jungle, a peculiar name I know, named as a pup before we met him, we embraced it. The charismatic canine won us over with his vivacious thirst for adventure, the glare of optimism in his eyes and the bounce in his step. As soon as he touched down he was off, wasting no time in exploring. He scurried around the yard, marking  his territory, fighting against the fencing’s edges, hoping to manufacture a new exit, generally growing intimate with his new digs.

I was a boy, he was a pup. He was filled with affection and excitement, the contagious cheer was instinctively reciprocated. In Zambia, our dogs slept outside. This made every morning a heartfelt reunion. Waking up to this excited beast, starry eyed with his tail high, wagging wildly. The weekends were the best, we welcomed his hugs of excitement, even encouraged the Ecstasy. School days were a formal affair, we had to pacify these morning greetings, exercising caution and reining in the thoughts of play. his excitement had a way of ruining our school uniforms, stray fur and paw prints were a sure way to guarantee a scolding.

Every moment spent apart was brought to an end with a heart melting reception. I still feel his wet nose dotting my hands, his wagging tail beating against my legs as he circled me in a frenzy. The 10 second walk to the door was  extended by jovial ceremony. I welcomed the paw prints and those mischievous stray strands of fur that lingered long after each embrace has ended. He had his own way of looking, with his eyes, he would trace me up and down almost to say “long time no see, look how much you’ve grown”, a reception akin to family you haven’t seen in years. Regardless of how the day went, good or bad, I was always guaranteed one thing, one thing to augment merriment or sweep any sadness from the frame. Whether it be running under the beating afternoon suns gaze or simply sat on the veranda, evading the rains stampede, he filled each moment with loyalty, comfort and companionship.

Since meeting him, I cannot remember a milestone in my life in which he was truant. The passing of my grandfather was a particularly emotional event for me, even then, I remember the role he played in piecing me back together. He was my best friend, we grew up together. I saw him mature from a pup to the dog I last remember, and he saw me grow too, from losing my baby teeth to learning to read.

Now imagine the scene of our final farewell, imagine looking your best friend in the eye, knowing you will never see him again, knowing he has no idea that, this is it. Imagine knowing that those goodbyes that appeased even the blues days were resigned to living solely as memories. As that kennel door shut close a chapter of my life, those dark eyes of his peered at me protest. His solemn whimpers, and the chatter of his paws as he paced frantically cannot, will not, be forgotten.

His memory will never fade. I know I will never call his name and see that stampede of love rushing at me again, I know I will never feel the warmth of him, when the air is cold, or when the smile on my face has frosted and tapered down. The whimpers and paws scratching at the door, calling me out, to teach me how to appreciate another day will now only reverberate in memory. He taught selfless love, loyalty and seizing happiness in everyday.

I lost Jungle in the Summer of 2003. I refuse to ask where he is now. That, my heart cannot bare, I will revel in blissful ignorance. My best friend is alive in my memories. It would take a thousand lifetimes to stifle that light. I’m in England now, Jungle loves it.

22 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Day Four: Serially Lost

    1. I’m glad it tugged in your heart strings. This was a loss I had to write about, I can’t wait to see what the part 2 will be, and I’ll have to rub my 2 brain cells together and spark an idea. You have your part 2 hook in mind?

      1. Yup… part 1 ends with a couple of burning questions that need answering in part 2, then part 2 will have a question that will be answered in part 3. That and my title is a bit obvious on the “parts” thing….lol. Just passing through, I probably would have thought your story was done.

      2. And the plot thickens, well moving to a new country, saying goodbye to the old bestfriend, so there is a whole new world to play with there

  1. I love how it’s so unique in a way that you expressed your special bond throughout the whole post. I can totally relate to this, had to move without my dog as well but it’s an amazing post! 😀 So excited to read your other posts as well!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it. And you were in that position as well, you can relate, memorable loss, never got another dog, would be kinda weird. Lol and thank you, I hope that I can still entertain with more of my posts.

      1. Exactly. It kinda feels like there’s a you’ve left a piece of your heart when you left Jungle to explore the wider world. It kind of felt like you’re exploring without your best friend. Nevertheless, I definitely think this post is amazing!

      2. That’s exactly it! The new adventures are in the horizon but I’ll have to go at it without jungle. 🙂 thanks so much for the appreciation

  2. An amazing piece indeed. I enjoyed reading it . I was able to walk the journey with you and feel the loss of Jungle’s friendship. I like the way you ended the piece. Although there was a build up of sad emotion . The last bit lifted my spirits.
    It would be nice to have a piece on a day with jungle. Did he have any siblings?. I just love the piece! Great work. Don’t stop there.

    1. I needed that up lifting note at the end, gone but never forgotten. I’m glad that the piece was able to touch you. I really appreciate the feedback, and I hope to write more, and hopefully jingle will be the feature of future posts

  3. OK…you’ve had quite a love fest with the feedback – and I agree with just about all of it. I could gush at length, but that won’t help you grow as a writer, so I’ll take a different approach (hope the salt is handy). I have two thoughts about making this piece even stronger (and it’s pretty damned strong to begin with). The first is minor -in the 3rd to last paragraph you ask the reader to imagine. Don’t do that. Let the reader experience it as you did. This is such a heartfelt piece, I don’t want to have to insert myself into the story. I want it through your eyes. Secondly, I think the piece could be even more emotionally charged if you buried the lead a bit. Sure, the prompt is about loss, so we know you’re going to lose Jungle. But imagine (great, now you have me using that phrase) this piece living without the prompt. If I don’t know upfront that you’ll lose Jungle, I’ll be free to engage in the wonders of your relationship until the day he’s torn from you. As the reader, I wanted to experience that awful feeling like you did. Instead, I was told up front that you would lose Jungle, and then I had to try to enjoy your relationship with him in flashback…knowing that it was terminal. I’m not sure that makes sense. And, again, thank you for being open to feedback. I hope you don’t take any of this personally. All that said, I’ll be sticking around to read more of what you come up with this month.

    1. I appreciate the feedback, I’m using the blog to work on my writing, and I understand not telling them to imagine, instead of instructing them into an emotion, I should guide them in. Yeah the loss was a dead give away because of the prompt, those are really good thinking points, and I really appreciate that eye of yours in future posts.

  4. Hey, I thought this was so moving and SO IMPORTANT to tell a story like this froma childs perspective. So few get the upheaval of leaving a home and this shows it really beautifully and sadly at once. x

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