Life can suck sometimes. And in 2020, it seems like nothing can go right. Fires, pandemics, celebrity deaths, political upheaval, protests, everything bad has happened at once. Yes, this year has been awful for humanity. But for Antonio, it has only been an awful year. I’ve made more friends in college, become TikTok famous, and thankfully have not been closely affected by COVID.
So as far as life goes, it could be a bit worse. It has been worse. It has been weirder too, believe it or not. In fact, the weirdest day of my life was not when the pandemic struck. It wasn’t when wildfires threatened. It wasn’t when someone called my TikTok merch “dumb.” No, the weirdest day of my life was September 8, 2015. Sit down, and hear this harrowing tale.
The day started out really good, actually. As a sophomore in high school, I took the bus to school and prepared to ask out my high school crush. Mya Pottratz and I had been hanging out for a week or two and texting, and the other day she had bought me Dutch and hugged me. HUGGED ME. This was a code red situation, all hands on deck. I had devised a genius plan to ask this girl out.
The plan was simple. We were going to get Starbucks. Then on the way back, I would bring a stick of gum, and tell her the advice my great-grandpa had given me before he had passed away: if you found a girl cute, tell her and give her a stick of gum. I would then present Mya the stick of gum and ask her to be my girlfriend.
Now naturally, this was the best plan ever conceived in the history of mankind. It worked without a major problem. A flawless run. I walked towards fourth period with a girlfriend for the first time and a huge smile. Today was going to be the best day.
The best day continued with a good day at football practice. I don’t really remember a ton about it, but I do remember a scrimmage where I made a really good play and was complimented for it. It went by quickly and I had fun with it. I waited for my dad to pick me up to take me and my friend Ewon home. My dad was quiet when he picked me up, something I didn’t notice at first. We drove over to Ewon’s house, dropped him off, and headed home.
I had to tell someone the phenomenal news. Little did I know, my dad has news for me too. At the same time, we said, “I have something to tell you.” I motioned for him to go first. I figured I’d let him say his lame thing before letting him know that his oldest son was a certified womanizer with a girlfriend.
My dog had died that morning. Cora, our wonderful, energy-filled, loving one year old puppy, had run behind my mom’s car as she backed up to take my brother and sister to school. She died before they even had a chance to think about the vet.
I don’t remember starting to cry. I think I instantly burst into tears. This perfect day was beyond ruined. I forgot all about my perfect plan with Mya. It was destroyed. I stammered home and visited the gravesite of the dog I had pet goodbye earlier that day. The last thing I had told her was that I couldn’t play with her now because I had to go to school. I wasn’t going to be able to play with her ever again.
My family all sat around Cora’s grave and talked about the memories we had made with her in that one short year we had her. It was a peaceful conversation and I finally stopped crying after about three hours and mentioned that I had asked out Mya that day. My dad did give me a high five, so I guess he was impressed.
Unfortunately, and to the surprise of no one but sophomore year Antonio, Mya and I did not get married, but did date for five months. Ewon is in the Air Force now and I wish him well. But every seven or eight months I still make it out to Cora’s doghouse and her grave and tell her all the stuff she’s been missing. We never got another dog, and I miss Cora a lot. I still need to fill her in on everything that’s happened in 2020, but I know that she would have loved to have us home all the time. I would’ve loved it too.