There are six people sitting on the chairs in a big empty room. There is some sense of suffocation in the air it is being amplified by the hollowness of the room. The room is fairly lit and yet it feels somberly dark. All the six people suddenly fall quiet and closed their eyes after a few seconds everyone started holding each other’s hand and said, “yeah, it’s bad. Yeah, it’s terrible, and yeah everyone one of us is going through heaps of shit but this is not it and definitely, this is not all. Stand still and let us stand together.” They repeated this couple of times more and each time they did their voice increased dramatically.

“Hey Steve, Jonas, Jenny, and Christie what’s up, and how have you been all this week?”, asked Will. Christie replied, “thanks for asking Will, yeah I am fine and in one piece I never visited my son’s room this week and also I have made myself a lasagna last weekend.” Everyone else said fine in their own way. “guys everyone welcome Myra to the club, she joined us today” said Will.  Everyone said, “God give her strength” at once. Myra sitting in the middle of this coalition thinking if she made the right decision to join a support group. She doesn’t know how to react. Will said, “let me introduce everyone here” pointing to jenny Will said, “she is a truck driver and she accidentally spoiled her load and sold off everything to pay for that loss, and she now has debts sucked up to her neck. He is Steve his girlfriend broke up with him out of the blue and this is Jonas he has only a few more days before his Alzheimer shuts down all his motor nerves. Even talking became difficult for him these days” pointing to Christie he said, “she is a mid-wife who got divorced, fought against all odds to make sure that his son gets the right education and comfort, and, in the end, he committed suicide in his room.” Christie felt emotional and controlled herself. Listening to all this made Myra feel gloomy and at the same time she felt a weird sense of belonging. Will asked, “now it’s your turn Myra!”. Myra said, “before I speak you talked about everyone expect you?” Steve replied, “he’s a retired FBI agent and one day a mob suddenly came to his house killed everyone but him. He lost his wife and his daughter and still FBI didn’t catch a single person from that coup. He started this support group 8 years back and since helped more than 79 people.” Myra couldn’t just process what she heard. With tears rolling in her eyes, she went near to Will to give a hug and said, “that’s a lot…how could you? and you are helping people along with their sufferings. That feels terribly good” Will embraced the hug and just gave a warm smile to Myra. Myra said, “Hi guys thanks for having me. I feel so blessed to be here. Exactly a year back a horrible thing has happened to me. All of it still haunts me. I just couldn’t let it go it’s like living inside a black void for a year. When he came into my life everything changed… I mean everything..but he…” Steve asked, “what is this guy’s name?” Myra sobbingly said, “he’s Rex and he’s not a guy he is my dog.” Will said, “Myra listen we are all here to listen to you say where it started, what happened, and what are you going through. If there something that helps to let the pain go it is saying it out loud.” 

Myra continued, “I was a very talkative person you will meet in your high school. I was around 14 years old back then then I had a boyfriend, and everything used to be so fucked up. I have always been nice to people but in the end, I couldn’t just hold people something would always pop-up and they just blame me for that but my friend, Alex always covered my back and been with me all the time. Sometimes I just wonder how he can even tolerate me but yeah that’s basically me. Might be an only extrovert who has only one real friend. One day I and my family are coming back from a countryside road trip. My dad pulled the car off-road, we are just a few minutes away from entering Denver, my city. My dad said that he and my stepmom will go to the nearby petrol bunk to get petrol and that my stepmom needed to pee he gave me strict instructions to stay inside and look after the car until they come. It’s a steppe downhill road with only one streetlight which was directly over my head. It has a board saying 10 down street Avenue. I listened to some good old music and it’s already been more than 20 minutes god must only know what they had been up to in that bunk and I finally got out of the car to go there I was actually tensed. It’s when I heard some noise as if someone is mourning for help, but I couldn’t see anyone and the sound of that mourn was increasing after a few mins I could see a small dog with a broken leg, he is trying so hard to walk he has a collar around his neck. He walked past me he was so adorable I mean you can’t really look away. After few hard steps, he finally fell onto the ground and started gasping. It took me few minutes to react, but I ran towards my car got my water bottle. I poured water on the road and he started licking I tired and somehow made him drink some. After few minutes he was finally breathing normally. He was not waking up he’s just lying on the ground with his tongue out and staring at me. I too lied on the road exactly beside him looking him straight in the eye. He was so cute I couldn’t resist myself, so I took my hand started scrubbing his head slowly. It was just me, him with one streetlight and mountains. It’s still one of the weird and beautiful moments of my life. I got up after few mins and then he followed me. I stood up and he started to follow me he was actually licking my leg it was exactly then when my dad came back yelling at me. I apologized and got into the car quickly, but this dog was not leaving me I somehow got into the car. by the time our car started, he started barking and it felt as if he was crying and I couldn’t just leave him I asked in fact I yelled at my dad to stop the car I got down and took him and sat inside the car it was then when I saw the name on his collar. It seemed as if it is the very old collar, but he was just maybe barely a month old. There were x v e r, and few letters were missing, I guess they were wearing off. My stepmom said that it’s Xavier. My dad was like wow honey your sudoku finally paid off. But whatever I just didn’t like the name nor the old-looking collar, so I decided to drop the v in x v e r and named him rex. I was very much into cryptography and anagrams back then but that doesn’t matter that’s the day when I found my rex. By the way, he’s a handsome Doberman, he exactly looks like batman.  From that day in my life, I and Rex were part of anything and everything together. Until then I never believed that love can ever exist without expecting anything, I loved him unconditionally.” Jonas interrupted in the middle, and with so much difficulty he said, “yeah I knoww that…fee..ling  I had a dog a few years back. May that’s when I loved someone self…lessly…” Will soothed him by holding his hand. Myra said, “yeah, exactly… that’s how exactly I feel.” Jonas said, “Sorry for interrupting” Myra replied, “please Jonas don’t apologize…yeah… from the day I found rex was the day from when I started feeling empathy. Rex can’t explicitly say anything out I used to think all that rex would be thinking and slowly after few years I finally knew what his frown meant, and I could say his mood by seeing the wiggle of his tail. We actually kinda had grown up together. I started making more friends and in general, I became a more empathic person.” Will coughed so much Myra immediately took out her water bottle from her bag and gave it to him. While she’s taking out the bottle, she found rex’s old collar and showed it to the group. Steve touched and looked at it fascinatingly and said “anagrams! Cool mam. Cool!” 

Myra chuckled and continued saying, “yeah anagrams, so…basically, he is my everything and I literally mean that. In the beginning, my stepmom used mummer all the time about him and me bringing him, my dad always calmed the things down between us. I was actually scared to leave home…” christie asked, “why? do you have any anxiety issues or some kind of social disorder?” Myra with a confused frown said, “no Mrs. Christie I don’t have such issues I am the one who won’t shut the mouth once I open” with a gloomy face christie said, “sorry but I asked because my son was also scared to leave the house and he had anxiety issues thought you have something similar of that kind Myra.” Myra regretting her little impulsive reaction said, “Christie, christie I..I..uh…am sorry I the thing, I don’t know, I am sorry” Christie with a smile said, “darling, don’t apologize we don’t do that here. Everyone has their thing going inside their thick little skull and that little thing inside seems like a big real only deal. I actually lost track of why am I even saying this and please darling leave my thing. why were you scared to leave home?” Myra replied, “no christie it…it feels nice to hear you speaking out. Uhm…I am scared to leave the home because I was scared about my stepmom, I was scared that she might do something to rex or treat him badly in general…” Christie said, “ohhh…yeah, I can understand it’s like leaving my son in a daycare” Myra said, “EXACTLY Christie that’s how I fucking felt. I used to take him out every day after my college we used to play all kinda games. He has that magic, you know, he could literally say or sense if I had a bad day in my college or even if I am feeling a lowly vibe, he just makes sure to let me know that he was there and that he will be there no matter what. He was the reason if I survived my college and life too. Slowly after few years, we both were grown-ups but he actually outcast me in growing up. He’s so tall, big, and broad as I told you if someone wants to make a batman movie of some dog version, he’s the one for it. Like he is a perfect dark knight.” Everyone is laughing seeing Myra describing her dog. Will said, “oh! Boy, I wish I saw him. Guess he’s so handsome.” Myra replied, “I swear and he’s such a playboy in our street he almost instantly goes to every girl like immediately and they treat him as if they are in a relationship for ages, I just couldn’t stand the sight. I struggle to get even one boyfriend whereas he used to be on a spree, and he used to be very stubborn until he mates that girl, but he had a high taste got to appreciate him for that at the least. So yeah, and slowly my fear of not leaving home faded away because now my stepmom was so scared of rex that she actually calls me before coming to my room.” Steve suddenly said, “wow girl that’s definitely one of the best perks of having such a dog.” Laughingly Myra nodded a yes. Myra continued, “we ate every day sitting next to each other, sleep together and he used to wipe my tears while I was watching a movie. One day I and my family went to a picnic everything was fine until he saw a girl called rosy, she is Doberman she exactly looks as if she just straight walked out of a ramp and this guy was going crazy. Rosy didn’t have a collar she is a highly trained dog, I guess. I don’t exactly remember but I had to go back to our car to get some food or whatever. Even before leaving, I told my stepmom and dad to look after Rex. By the time I was back rex was not there and to be even more precise rosy was also not there.” Everyone is laughing in the room. “I asked Rosy’s family members if they know where she went, they said wherever she is she will return back to them soon, but my guy is a dumbo he doesn’t properly even know two streets away from our home. After some time, rosy came back and this idiot didn’t. it started out as a funny thing and it got serious. It was almost dark, and we were searching for him I couldn’t find him it’s almost 8 when my dad said let’s go. I shouted at him I said I am not coming my father replied, “I am not saying to leave rex we have already complained to police they will come, and search and you can join them tomorrow at the earliest.” I was not convinced my parents left me and I searched until up in the midnight.” Jenny curiously asked, “did you found him or lost him what happened where was he?” Myra replied, “police were dropping me back at my home we were entering the outskirts of Denver, it’s 10 down street avenue and god! Rex was sitting right under that streetlight. It’s where the first time I meet rex. I just cried, yelled and he even received few little punches. He jumped at me on seeing as if nothing happened, he was licking me all over me and my leg. He looks so cute when he tries to wipe my tears. This happened 3 years back.” Jenny said, “I couldn’t hold my breath until you find rex.”  Myra said, “I know right but from then we used to hang out even more and my friends were actually interested in him than me. They wanted selfies, pics, and snaps with him. They used to adore us so much.” She took out her back and showed all the polaroid photos that she had with rex. Jonas said “Myra…he…loooks, so inti..midating.” everyone shared their candid thoughts. After few minutes Myra continued, “yeah that’s about it but I never thought such a day or such a thing would ever happen in my life. It was like every other Saturday, cold and little dew of rain. I got up late had my coffee cuddled rex, played my guitar, watched a movie, it’s the due date we liked it very much then I slept off. I got up again late in the evening. It was our party day, ava is throwing a party as he was leaving Denver and moving to Seattle. Alex called me and he said that he had to pick up few other friends, so he asked me to come on the bus. I was all ready in my party outfit and when I was leaving rex kept licking my feet it’s not the first time, but it always felt weird when he does that when I was leaving. I kissed him I bought him out to the garden and tied him in the corner and left. I was listening to my favorite song I finally got down from the bus. Nearby that bus stop, there was small club bar and there was a vintage Ferrari 250 GTO out there just opposite the road. I am Petrolhead and love vintage cars, so I was watching with all my eyes but suddenly the headlights were turned on and it exactly got lit on my face. I felt embarrassed and started walking away from some guy from behind touching my back said, “Hey girl you look freaking red smoky, it’s our car by the way. Why are you just staring at it I won’t mind even if you get inside of it” and he yelled at his friends, “guys do you mind if she comes inside?” they all shouted back yelling No. I was very much disgusted and pissed off. I kicked him right in the balls. He screamed so loud when his friends were about to get down and come at me Alex was right there passing by with full music in his car. I yelled I even thought that he couldn’t possibly listen to me but luckily the car stopped few meters away and I started running and got into the car and I swear to the god… Alex took the car back to them threw a few bottles before he started ramping the car to jet speed. We finally left that place and went to the party. I was so disturbed by all this I didn’t want to say this to others and spoil their mood, but party groves and wine slowly got me back into the mood. Surprisingly my ex was there at the party. I just wanted to avoid him I don’t know whether he is seeing someone, or I just don’t want to look at him, but I couldn’t. I somehow messed up and I don’t even know what I was doing I was too high. We ended up kissing on the couch a few minutes later I guess he got a call and left the party without even saying a bye to me. I felt like a little fucking thing. It’s just my stupidity and I hated myself for doing that. I didn’t wanna be there even for a second. I left after saying goodbye to Ava. I left from there in a haste. I saw my phone there are multiple missed calls from my dad and a few texts I was too lazy and least bothered.  I went to the bus stop listening to my songs. I was yelling and singing songs out. I was no brains at that time. Alex doesn’t even know that left the party. It actually felt nice until I felt the heat of a bright headlamp on my face. It’s the same GTO 250. I was scared as fuck. I didn’t know what to do. I started running like crazy. It felt stupid I was trying to run away from a Ferrari. The same guy grabbed me before kicked me where I exactly kicked him. I fought so much but they got me inside of their car. I started shouting like crazy. There was heavy rain on that day. Three of them are trying to hold and close my mouth but I was doing all that I can from biting, hitting, and everything. I saw a big, long wrench down I somehow managed to hold that I had bit the guy next to me so hard that I had blood on my teeth. I hit the driver with that wrench, I don’t know if it’s because of me or the rain he hit the car into a tree. All of us felt the jerk but as I was ready, I quickly somehow made it out of the car. My left leg was badly hurt, and I couldn’t run. I ran as fast as I can seeing back with anxiety. I walked for some time there were not there. I breathed a little and searched for my phone. I guess it got lost somewhere between the fight. There was a straight uphill road Infront of me I was too tired to walk until I saw them far back in the street. Anxiety, fear, and tension everything crept in a second I could literally feel my heart pounding. With all that I have left I started running when I was about to cross the uphill kinda road. They threw the same wrench at me. It hit me right on my back.  It looked up onto the road it has only one streetlight and I was walking hopelessly and with a broken leg I want to yell out for help but all I could do is just mourn. There were just a few feet away I even felt one of their hand on my shoulder it is then when I saw rex running as crazy as he can barking as loud as he can it almost made me go deaf for a second. It was raining so heavily. At the moment he is all that I could wish for It felt like I don’t even know how to describe that feeling when I saw him. He jumped on me I couldn’t take the impact and both of us fell onto the ground. He was wiping my tears and licking all over my face I could see him crying. Without a second thought, rex went on to them like a lion going for his prey. He bit each and every one of them so hard and I was also yelling all that I can at them. Suddenly a guy from the back bought a baseball bat to hit me but rex came in the middle and took that shot. He was instantly bleeding I just couldn’t see my babe like that, and those fucking bastards were kicking him and this guy with that bat was tearing my dress. Rex leaped on him and after a second his palm got separated from his hand. He screamed to his death. I was in shock and in blood. Everyone was trying to kill me, and Rex didn’t allow a single bastard to even lay a single finger on me. He took so many hits and kicks I was just crying It didn’t matter whatever they do to me I just don’t want my rex to get hurt that badly. I was trying to pull him back, but he’s is so big I didn’t … I just couldn’t. someone in the neighborhood might have heard rex barking. This bark always felt like a roar. These bastards saw them coming and started to run away rex didn’t even leave them he ran behind them. I don’t where he went. I was just laying on the road when people came, they gave a blanket and a water bottle.  I was looking for rex. I could hear him, but I couldn’t see him. After few seconds I could see a big dog bleeding all over, he is trying so hard to walk. He walked past me he is so adorable I mean you can’t look away. After few so hard steps, he finally fell to the ground and started gasping. It took me few minutes to react, I just couldn’t see him like that I am crying so hard I tired and somehow made him drink some water with lots of difficulties. He was not waking up he’s just lying on the ground with his tongue out and staring at me. I too lied on the road exactly beside him looking him straight in the eye. I was crying hopelessly and my whole face got red he started to wipe my tears and he was scrubbing on my head before he finally left his last breath. I just couldn’t stop crying I was screaming throwing everything I could possibly. I was very angry on me it was my fault and rex gave up his own life and took so many beatings to save and he made sure that those bastards didn’t even lay a single finger on me. Guys I just couldn’t see him lying on the road covered in blood, even then he looked so cute. I kissed him and begged him to get but he fucking didn’t irony was the name on the street board. It is 10 down the street avenue; it was the first time where I saw him. It was just me, him lying on the ground with one streetlight and mountains. That is the saddest moment in my life all my tears dried up until my dad came and lift me up. They took me inside the car and closed the door I could hear rex barking at me not to leave but he’s not really barking he was just lying down there.  The car started moving and I yelled at my dad to fucking stop the car, but I know he’s not coming back I just cried as much I can while I was holding my dad in the car. REX is my real Batman. Later my dad said why he called many times on that day, he called because he wanted to inform me that rex is not in the garden or in the house, he said that I forgot to buckle the chain up when I tied him in the garden before leaving to party. It hit me like a storm I don’t know how to receive that it’s a magical coincidence and the same time the reason why rex is not with me today. I was really angry for so much time. It’s exactly been one year since he died. There is no single day when I didn’t miss him. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t watch a single movie.” And she started mourning and everyone got up from their chairs and soothed her. Will said, “cry as much as you can cry until those tears get dry and until you are left with none.” After some time, they left the room. Every one of them came to rex’s Remembrance Day after finishing all the formalities all of them stood around rex’s gravestone and held each other’s hands including Myra, all of them together said, “yeah, it’s bad. Yeah, it’s terrible, and yeah everyone one of us is going through heaps of shit but this is not it and definitely, this is not all. Stand still and let us stand together.” 

On the gravestone, there is his name X v E R, a medal which state police have awarded to rex honoring his bravery, a batman logo, and a polaroid photo of REX and Myra. 

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