I've always felt alone and misunderstood.
It was during one of those normal days that my life took a most exciting turn that I could only have dreamt about.
Being only nine-years-old didn't stop me from understanding that the mistreated Yorkshire puppy my Mother brought home was going to change my life.
Michelle had scars due to cigarettes being stubbed out on her skin, wasn't easy to approach and was scared about almost everything.
I didn't mind it.
I looked at that puppy - which most of the children of my age would have thought was ugly and scary - and I smiled.
I knew that from that moment I would have taken care of her and she would have done the same with me.
Days, months and years passed.
Despite being an only child, having both my immigrant parents working more than 10 hours a day to survive and being contentiously bullied at school, I was happy; I knew that once home, Michelle would be there to hear my problems, see me cry and try to make me laugh.
Michelle was there when I had my first crush.
When I gave my first kiss.
During the pain of my first heart break.
She gave me the strength to believe in me.
She loved me when no one did.
She never left me expect when my grandfather died. That night she went to sleep with my Mother.
Michelle always knew how to mend the wounds of our hearts.
I was seventeen when I decided to tattoo her name on the bottom of my stomach. She used to sleep next to my belly and I always liked to think she was like my baby. I was happy to have her name on my skin.
People laughed but when you know true love, others opinions cannot do you any harm.
When you have lived true love, you become indestructible.
Michelle and I had the time of our lives. She traveled to Albania, through Sicily and even went to France.
From a scared teenager with zero self-esteem I was slowly becoming the woman I've always wanted to be.
I got my master degree, I wrote a fantasy book which had the chance to be published and I had a lovely boyfriend.
I was finally recovering from 8 years of depression.
Then, the hell started.
Michelle breath was odd.
I was in the car heading to the vet and my heart hurt.
It felt like all the sadness of the world was consuming my soul and body.
I knew what was going to happen.
The vet told us she had a pulmonary edema.
After those words, the rest happened so fast.
She stopped eating.
She had no energy.
I bought a baby sling wrap to hold her with me.
Funny how life works: when I was a child she took care of me and now she was old I was taking care of her like a baby.
One morning she wanted to be sick.
I ran toward the kitchen with her in my baby carrier as usual.
She looked me in my eyes as if she wanted to tell me something.
I was holding her tight to my heart while tears were running down my face.
I saw reflected in her eyes all the life we spent together, just like a movie.
And then, she died.
My pain was so strong that I yelled so loud that my lungs could have exploded.
It was like the reality around me was falling apart.
I felt numb.
I hardly remembered my years of life before Michelle came into it.
To me, Michelle meant life.
Then, how was is possible that my life was now dead?
I lived the next days like a ghost.
I ate, talked and slept tears.
What hurt even more is that I couldn't share my pain with anyone except my parents and my best friend because no one else could have understood.
After a week, we went to her cremation.
I saw my Dad cry only two times; when his parents passed away and when Michelle died.
When I saw my baby in that coffin ready to be gone forever the moment she died replayed in my mind.
I understood what she wanted to tell me.
She knew my heart and she knew my pain.
No matter how distant we would have been from that moment, Michelle and I would have been together forever.
The wild hot fire of the cremation was now on.
The white silence of the room was broken only by our weeping.
Something inside me died with Michelle.
But there was something else that was coming to life.
She taught me to believe in myself and my dreams.
Now I want to show her she was right.
For you Michelle, always.