Mac Miller & You Overdose, Ariana & I Meet at the Dog Park
It is a Tuesday morning, and I am at the Frick Park dog park. Otto is pulling at his leash, so I unclip it from his collar. He runs in circles patrolling the perimeter of the park. We are the only ones here. I hate when he runs in circles, can’t help but think he is trying to find you. I cannot explain overdose to a dog. I cannot explain sobriety, or addiction, or death to a dog. I imagine Otto already understands these concepts. I want to believe he isn’t waiting for you to come home. I am still waiting for you to come home. The sun is behind a cloud, in Pittsburgh there are always clouds. Suddenly I hear the door clank, another dog arrives. The owner is short with a high ponytail, she’s alone. She is not dressed for Pittsburgh weather. It’s Ariana Grande. I wave at her. I realize the brown pit bull chasing after Otto is Mac Miller’s dog, Myron. Ariana adopted him after their overdose. I forget addiction kills other people besides you. I forget that my pain is not special. I start to cry. Myron and Otto chase each other until they stop nose to nose. It seems they’ve engaged in advance, everything Myron does Otto mirrors. Ariana smiles at me. Otto looks pained like he is trapped in a game he doesn’t want to play. I tell Ariana I am sorry for her loss. She nods and says it’s okay. I tell her you overdosed too. I tell her how badly it hurts. That Otto was our dog and now he’s mine and you’re dead. A relapse overdose. Five years down the drain to leave me alone. You said you wouldn’t die. Ariana says maybe they will come back to us. I say nothing. Ariana touches my face. We hold each other. Suddenly thunder cracks and the drizzles turn to big raindrops. Otto is still trapped mirroring Myron. Something is wrong. I call for Otto but nothing comes out of my mouth. Ariana is apologizing but not to me, I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. I am shouting it as well. In this game of Simon Says, Otto is walking in synch with Myron. They’re coming over to us. Ariana wipes her tears and like a puppet, my hand moves to my face as well. Something is wrong. Otto and Myron are howling. Ariana is crying but her tears aren’t falling down her face, they’re collecting in my throat. I am scratching at my neck, I am gurgling up water, drowning. She starts singing Imagine a world like that/ imagine a world, I recognize my voice harmonizing, suddenly this body is no longer mine, just an extension of another woman’s pain, my hands framing my face just as hers do, this mimic, I a mockingbird. Otto and I trapped in this mirror, imagine a world.
Meg Caldwell is a queer poet and essayist from The Midwest.