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I think I heard somewhere once that love is pain. A physical ache. A dismay of the body. Something that hurts and haunts and devours. I’m feeling it surge through my body right now. An excitement I have never known.  It all started six days ago, Monday morning to be precise. It was 7:30 am and you were supposed to leave, but you didn’t. 

I thought you’d forgotten yourself at first. I wondered if you were running late or only going to step out for the afternoon as you had last December after the headaches had started. But afternoon came and went and there you were still sitting in your chair, admiring me, talking to me often and not a headache in sight. You had a peculiar disposition, a mix between contentment and dismay. I couldn’t understand why, but none of that mattered anyway because it was Monday, you were home, and I felt like the luckiest soul alive, truly. 

I thought back over all of the Monday mornings I had tried to get you to stay before. The schemes I had enacted, thought up from the restless nights before knowing you’d be gone. The unexpected disasters I had executed with precision, sometimes even gaining a precious few extra moments of your time while you swept up the broken crockery or discarded the masticated wires. I recalled the stern looks I had given you, the times I had attempted to bore straight into your soul, hoping that you’d pause just long enough to recognise the hollow emerging within me as you reached to open the door. But you never did notice, John. Seven long years and you never really did stop to stay with me for this long until now.

I wondered what had been so different about that Monday? The day that we had started our new life? What had caused you to stay in your pyjamas until noon then and every day since? Why exactly did you rearrange our entire living space and what did the new stack of papers with that fearful aroma on your desk even mean?!

I can not fathom it. This change. Even the way you carry yourself is different. You are slow now, John. You sometimes move with a dancelike quality. You always wear your soft shoes. When I look into your eyes there are flutters of peace intercepting those old fragments of shame. Oh how I admire this new you that I can not understand. I want you to know that I accept our new life fully, John and I hope that it will always be.

Things are quieter around here too, no one is visiting as they should. Now it's six days on you still have not left my side. This must be the heaven I keep hearing about. The one we thought you were moving to last winter before you didn’t. I’m so glad that you stayed, John. I hope you know how much it means, you being here with me. I hope you know that I adore you and only you.

We played catch with your hard black shoe for over an hour yesterday. What a ridiculously exuberant game! When I finally retreated to my little woollen bed, exhausted and no longer able to respond to your temptations, you smiled and laughed with a sense of ease that I have not witnessed in you before. I hope you knew that at that moment I was smiling back at you too. 

Of course, there is a shadow side to you, John. I see it in the fleeting moments where your eyes dart to the stacks of paper on your desk. I sense a new disturbance when you lay down in your bed for much longer than you did before. I notice a change in the air when the phone rings and I smell an aura of the unknown when you watch the people on TV in the mornings. It reminds me of the time last year when the snow was falling from above and the tears were falling from your face. But the worry soon departs now just as it did back then. The ease flushes back and you're smiling at me again. It’s in moments like this that I know it, John. I know that we're going to be alright.

You looked at me just now. With your kind head-tilting gesture and gentle murmurings and I must admit, I have never felt so complete. I remember your friend from the forest talking about soulmates one day and I am convinced that is what we are to each other, You and I, soulmates here together. Perhaps you finally realized this too and that's why you always stay? I was lost in the ecstasy of that thought for a moment but then it hit me again, the physical ache, hurting, haunting, devouring. It is a pain that brings me back every time.

As our eyes meet an ethereal current of existence flows between us but still my tail, it aches so abruptly from the happy accompanying sways. I see the look of anguish cross over your face as you notice me wincing in pain. Your attention now on my body, “Tell me where it hurts, Boy?” As if magnetically, I draw your attention to my limpening tail. “It hurts!” I admit in my mind, knowing that you’ll never really hear my words but willing you to nonetheless. “Oh my poor little guy, you’ve hurt your tail. I think we need to take you to the veterinary clinic tomorrow.”

All of a sudden I feel my excitement dwindle. How I hate that place and its terrible smells. The kindness of that clinic has always been tainted with an authoritative air by which I can not abide. It’s as if they are wearing smiling masks while holding some deep-seated secret. I sometimes wonder if they’re assassins in disguise. Happy to help until the day they’re not and then what? What if they just take you out for being an inconvenience, you know? Snipe you without warning? There’s something about the vibe of that place that has never sat right with me. Plus, I saw a little blue boy entering the far door in the fall and he did not return. No one's seen him since.  But I trust John with my life and he says they will help so I will do this for him tomorrow without a fight. 

This has again been the greatest week of my life and I hope that we will always spend our days together now. If love really is pain then it is such a small price to pay for this heaven. 

March 27, 2020 23:22

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1 comment

Shirley Medhurst
12:24 May 07, 2020

I really enjoyed this story, although am not quite sure I understood what 'the limpening tail’ and the ‘little blue boy’ were about...??? I like the way you use 2nd person. The dog’s thoughts about the vet sound very realistic too. Well done


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