Keith Romano broke my heart, so I married his dog.
My whole college degree, I’d been pining over this one guy. He was that incredibly popular jock: dazzlingly handsome and athletically built, Keith Romano had gorgeous messy brown hair, pale, mole-speckled skin and strong blue eyes. Ever since he’d offered to help me with carrying my luggage up to my room, I’d been set. All I wanted to do was marry this guy.
He wasn’t like the usual toxic college jock. He was incredibly helpful and kind, which is probably why we’ve always been friends. I suppose I’m quite lucky to be close to the guy that every girl wants, even some of the guys. I convinced myself we were meant to be. Between hastily studying for exams and stressing over lectures and missed assignments, I was all for him. I went to watch him at all his sporting events, and partied all night with him when he won. The whole of college, however, I went by without even asking him if he felt the same. I couldn’t bare for him to break my heart and leave me broken for the rest of my degree. I swore to myself I’d graduate, and then try my luck.
Keith was one of the rich students who instead of living in a room in the college, he lived alone in a modern apartment down the street. That meant that it was perfectly acceptable when he adopted a lovely brown and white border collie halfway through our last year. He named the dog Bagel, and instantly introduced me to him. Bagel and I bonded virtually immediately. I could see Keith and I, married in a few years’ time with Bagel by our side at the altar, in a smart little tuxedo. I couldn’t wait.
Soon enough, the day of graduation came. All the stress and tears shed had a purpose. I had just finished adjusting my gown, smiling at myself in the mirror. My ginger hair was freshly curled and I’d tried a new makeup look, which I found myself quite proud of. Eyeliner had never cooperated with me before today. Of course, me being me, I took that as a sign from the heavens above, and decided I would ask out Keith, right after graduation.
Spoiler: worst decision I’ve ever made.
After we threw our caps in the air, I wobbled up to Keith, beaming. He smiled back, causing a sensation to hug my chest. Despite my happiness, I blundered on my words, unable to say the things I wanted to say, and he just ended up laughing, and then coming out to me as gay, and that he had this boyfriend called Lance, who he introduced me to. No, seriously. And then my heart quite simply withered.
I didn’t end up ever confessing my feelings. In fact, I never ended up speaking to Keith again. I wish I could say it was a mutual end to our friendship, however it was completely on me. Keith continued his friendly interactions with me over text after we both went our separate ways after college. I ignored everything he sent me: it pained me to even think about him for a long time, let alone speak to him. It didn’t help that his apartment was only a twenty-minute walk from my parents' house. I wanted to move away and forget him, but I didn’t have the money. If I had any sort of motivation, I could’ve worked and earnt enough. I didn’t. I was the definition of broken for months.
I never ended my friendship with Bagel, however. Keith was the one who broke my heart. Bagel did nothing wrong. So naturally, every day I would sneak into Keith’s apartment to see Bagel. And as you do, we fell in love.
It sounds quite silly, maybe something I’d do for revenge. But seriously – I had no hatred against Keith ever. He was happier with Lance, and that’s all that matters. And honestly, I was much happier with Bagel.
The way into Keith’s apartment is easy: all I’ve had to do is learn the simplest of wall-scaling. There were lessons at a nearby rock-climbing academy, and within two lessons, I could scale the five stories, up to Keith’s window. I learnt lock-picking off YouTube, and soon enough I could open up that window and climb in. I learnt Keith’s routine for each day of the week so I could get in and out without him seeing me; I’ve never once been caught.
It was one evening whilst I was at Keith’s, while he was out on a date with Lance, that I found out Bagel could talk. It didn’t come as much as a shock to me, as he already knew how to write in neat cursive, which is how he confessed his love to me. I had just dished up dinner for us two – Bagel was sitting opposite me at the dinner table, knife and fork in his paws – when he gave a short bark, and said politely to me, “Bon appétit.”
I just smiled at him, unphased, as he began to shovel forkfuls of chili con carne into his maw. “Tastes good?”
He finished his mouthful and delicately wiped his muzzle, nodding, “Yes, you are a very talented cook. You must teach me someday.”
And so, I did. I taught Bagel to cook, to clean, to dance – I even took him to learn how to do synchronized swimming, as I booked out the whole pool for us two only to find out he already knew immaculate doggy-paddle. I couldn’t waste all the money, so I turned on some classic tunes and taught him a routine to each. He’s quite the master synchronize-swimmer, really. If it wasn’t for the amount of odd looks we would get (and that Keith would probably find out) I would’ve entered him into a competition.
On our month anniversary of me sneaking into Keith’s apartment daily, I proposed. I’d spent a whole afternoon in the jewelers down my street searching for the perfect dog-sized ring. Bagel and I had been talking about it recently, and he said he would love a golden band to compliment the whites of his paws with a pale blue diamond. That’s exactly what I got – I’d saved up weeks to buy this, ever since Bagel had helped me apply for a high-paying job (which trust me, I never would’ve been able to get into without his help). It was difficult trying to find a ring that would fit onto his claw and wouldn’t fall off without actually asking for it. If I said I was buying a ring for my boyfriend, who is a border-collie, I suppose someone would believe I’m mad and ask me to leave the shop. However, I managed to buy a ring, and thankfully, it fitted Bagel just perfectly.
He said yes, of course. The proposal wasn’t overly flashy, as I didn’t want to do anything which would attract attention from anyone else in the apartment block. I climbed up on the Thursday evening (fortunately, Bagel had told me the day before that he’d overheard Keith talking to Lance on the phone, and they were going out for a dinner date at a posh restaurant the next night). I made dinner for the both of us, and laid the table with a couple roses, just for romantic effect. I popped the question right before we were about to dig in, and then fitted it onto his paw afterwards. I taught Bagel how to take it on and off, so therefore he could hide it from Keith when needed.
Our wedding was difficult to plan. Have you ever tried trying to find someone who can officially administrate your marriage and somehow fake to the officials that you’re marrying a human, not your ex-crush’s pet? Almost impossible. But only almost – luckily, we did manage to find someone who would. I forced myself to break the news to my parents, as I wanted them there. Somehow, they took it just fine, and ended up being two of six people who were there on the actual day (the other four were a few of my college and school friends, who already knew I was strange). Bagel didn’t know any of his relatives, so they didn’t come. We got married at a church on the one day Keith was staying at Lance’s for the night. It went successfully: he didn’t suspect a thing.
I remember walking down the aisle towards Bagel. My dress was simple and white, nonetheless beautiful, and he was dressed in a neat dark grey tux. It was alike how I’d imagined it just a year ago whilst in college pining over Keith, only I was obviously marrying a different person (and species). I’ve never been happier before.
You’re probably wondering if we ever told Keith that I’d been sneaking up to his apartment for months to romance with his dog. Nope. Never. He remains in the dark even now. He goes out incredibly often with Lance now however, which gives me lots of opportunities to have husband and wife dates with Bagel. He really is the idealistic partner, that dog. Smart, polite, and incredibly handsome too. I don’t know what I was thinking whilst obsessing over Keith. Bagel was always the better option, and will continue to be. I guess life always works out one way or another – Keith Romano broke my heart, so I married his dog.
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Thank you so much for sharing this! I really enjoyed the conversational voice you used in this, and I loved the early passages such as: “I could see Keith and I, married in a few years’ time with Bagel by our side at the altar, in a smart little tuxedo. I couldn’t wait” and: “… and then coming out to me as gay, and that he had this boyfriend called Lance, who he introduced me to.” But when I read this: “It didn’t come as much as a shock to me, as he already knew how to write in neat cursive, which is how he confessed his love to me” ...
Thank you! I really appreciate it!