Guilt…guilt is an awful thing to feel, it can stop people from doing drastic things from the guilt that they may feel afterwards, but having done something and feeling actual true guilt after, is hard. We’ve all done things we’re guilty of, of course we have, we’re human. Guilty that you stole your siblings toy or sweets or whatever. I had a reminder of my guilt recently. It happened last year, when I was in my room on the internet, facebook if I recall, when I heard this howling. It was quick and I remember thinking, ‘is that Ness?’, my dog, but I put it completely out of my head and continued browsing on the computer. It wasn’t until the doorbell rang some twenty or thirty minutes later that I realised what I had heard. I answered the door to reveal my next door neighbour asking if that was Ness at the gate. My heart sank and immediately without investigating further, the guilt crept in. I went into shock and denial like I had when I heard him in pain less than half an hour before. I ran down to the gate and saw his black frame lying down with his head facing the road and his head shaking. I couldn’t face him, I began to cry for the first time ever that I can remember over a dog. I kept saying his name over and over so that even though he couldn’t see me, he knew I was there. His head finally stopped shaking. My mother felt guilty for letting him outside in the first place. I think that’s the first time she cried over a dog too. I proceeded to go to the shed to look for a shovel, which my neighbour retrieved in the meantime. He took him and placed him in the garden. After thanking them, I went inside feeling embarrassed that the neighbours saw my tears. They were equally fond of Ness, as he would fight with their dog daily and I mean daily! Up and down the side of the house leaving a mark in the grass from his running. He was terrible to bring on walks too, constantly picking fights with other dogs, but running then if they reciprocated. We couldn’t even sunbathe without him jumping up on us and trying to play. The next morning I looked out of the window in the kitchen at the blanket we placed over him. The radio was beside me so naturally I switched it on, anything to rid my mind of thoughts. All I heard was…
”Take me to church I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies, I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife, Offer me that deathless death, Good God, let me give you my life”
by Hozier and I just thought ‘how apt.’ Ness was the most humanised dog I have ever come across. He had this look where he was almost saying , ‘really? you want me to do this stupid paw thing?’ with his eyebrow raised. He was a great dog and is still missed.
If I feel guilty about not rushing out straight away when I should have, not looking him in the face when he died, then how can people, human beings, intentionally and so knowingly commit an atrocity. How can they willingly wake up and intend to kill people on this day? The tragedy of lives lost in France this week is a wake-up call once again to all of us about how short life is. How can we still live in a world where freedom of speech, freedom of ideas and expression, freedom of imagination is frowned upon and not only that but use it as a reason for terrorists to kill. To kill in the name of religion, yet in the midst of it all, killing one of your own if not more. A celebrity blaming all Muslims, when another puts him straight. We live in a vicious, cruel world when people literally cannot take a joke. My opinions are very simplistic as I am not a savvy political nor religious writer or reader. If we all killed over satire against us and our religion, then we would all be dead long ago. The coming together of people rallying against this terrorism is astounding, not just in France, but here at home and elsewhere. Athletes wearing shirts in commemoration and cartoonists artistically creating tributes through their profession is a sombre yet heartfelt tribute to the lives lost in these senseless tragedies. By tweeting or sharing #jesuischarlie on social media outlets is not my agreeance with everything that they have posted, it is my way of saying, I’m sorry.