When I was 7 years old I was friends with Sarah Roth. I remember she was strange and I remember that she was a Jew. I never met anyone like Sarah Roth before in my small town. Sometimes she would piss in her pants at school. Mrs. Fagan would be reading a book to us and all of a sudden the reading corner would smell like stale piss and Sarah would get all red and no one would say anything and Mrs. Fagan would just go on reading.
One day Sarah and I were running through the sprinkler on her front lawn and we saw a three legged dog. I remember this sudden stinging feeling in my stomach and I felt sick.
I can’t remember what Sarah said the three legged dog’s name was but she told me his name and that he came around every so often. I remember she laughed. I remember she wanted me to laugh at the three legged dog with her but I wouldn’t. I even tried to because I didn’t have any friends and I even wanted the girl who pissed her pants in the reading corner to like me, but I couldn’t do it. I thought that three legged dog was the saddest thing I’d ever seen. He swung his lame limbs around like a young child with one of those skip-its, I remember he couldn’t just stand still, the dog had to keep moving, keep spinning, keep swinging his legs wildly about just so it wouldn’t collapse. His tongue wagged uncontrollably out of the side of his pathetic mouth, I remember it looked happy. It looked like it was smiling. I remember feeling so sad because he looked happy. And I remember Sarah laughing. She wanted me to laugh with her so badly and I wanted to laugh with her too, but I didn’t.
I still think that three legged dog spinning round and round like a top, tongue dangling limp out of its pathetic, happy mouth and Sarah laughing maniacally and the sprinkler spraying our young, freckled bodies in the warm, soft sunlight might still be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.