There was cancer in her bones. The doctor said he knew what it was and that they hadn’t found anything that worked for it. He said it would eventually kill her.                 

So I started screaming. And I asked how long. And he said we had a year. “Doing nothing is an acceptable choice,” he said. “This will be harder on you than it will be for Margo.” I looked at her, sitting there on that flower print, plastic covered chair in the corner of the tiny room and I thought about how beautiful she was. All she had was that scar on her forehead. It’s all I could see. There was nothing else. She had told me the story of how she got it, the scar. She snuck through the fence when she was a little girl and tried to pet that dog that she didn’t know and it bit her, right there on her face. It would have made anyone else less beautiful but not her.                                             

I realized that everything up until this moment had been perfect, and that I just hadn’t noticed it until now, because now everything was not perfect. It never would be again. I didn’t know what to do. So we went to the dog shelter. The place where people abandoned all the things they didn’t love anymore. And we sat there, petting them and trying to act like everything wasn’t suddenly different. She loved all the things in this world that no one else would love. We brought home three from the shelter that night. When I touched her hand on the drive back, she didn’t pull away. I squeezed and looked ahead at where the headlights stopped and the darkness began and I squeezed, and I squeezed, until I felt the cancer in her bones lift up through her skin and float out through the crack in the back window that couldn’t roll up all the way, and through the windshield too, and the dogs looked at it leaving the car, floating up and away, and they whimpered and the air from outside stayed where it was, cold and icy, and embraced the sickness as it left her. 

Terek Hopkins is an English teacher in Spain. He studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Oregon. You can find his work at