We name our dog Fomo because he has this fear of missing out.
When I read to my son, Davy, he pokes his head into the book, studies pictures and words.
When I say, “The ducks say,” Fomo answers before Davy can, “Woof, woof.”
When I wash Davy’s hair, he jumps into the tub and wants a bath first.
When Davy gets a slice of pizza, Fomo leaps on a chair, begs and begs, until we give him a slice.
When I say, “Good night, sleep tight,” and give my son a hug, Fomo stares at me with his liquid, puppy eyes, until I tell him, “Good night, sleep tight, Fomo,” and offer a hug, after which he lays his head next to Davy’s as if to share his dreams.
When Davy falls ill, Fomo will not stay home. He comes to the doctor’s office, where he expects the nurse to listen to his heart as well.
When Davy must stay at the hospital and I sit by his bedside, Fomo sits at the foot of the bed; he doesn’t sleep, just as I don’t.
When we bury Davy, and return home, we don’t notice Fomo’s missing for a whole day.
When we search for Fomo, we don’t find him at the park, at Davy’s school, at the doctor’s office, or at the hospital.
We find him in a hole by Davy’s grave, where he’s snuggled in. If Davy’s sleeping under the earth, Fomo will do the same.
Sudha Balagopal’s recent short fiction appears in Split Lip Magazine, X-r-a-y Lit, Vestal Review and Pidgeonholes among other journals. She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions, and appears in the Wigleaf Top 50, 2019.