I know the carwash scares the dog, but tough shit. It scares me, too.
The mechanism drags our vehicle in and I scream, “We’re going to die!”
The dog whimpers and barks.
"I’ve changed my mind!" I yell. "Oh god, let me out!" I use my fingers to pry at the closed windows, but it’s no use. We’re trapped in a tornado of escalating panic. My loss of control makes it worse for the dog and vice versa.
I know that in this space, the relationship between the dog and I is toxic, but he’s my friend and we’re supposed to see a movie later.
I vomit and beg the dog to kill me. I even take his little paws and manually place them on my throat, but either he’s not smart enough to understand strangulation or he fears that my death will force him to surrender a lifestyle he’s grown accustomed to.
At long last, daylight. The nightmare is over. The dog and I bolt out of the car and race over to a patch of grass next to the vending machines.
We embrace. There are some things we need to work on, but not today.