Tim and Andrew were sitting on the dock watching the sun come up after another long night of preparations. They knew that this was necessary even though it felt tedious every month. No matter how much Andrew hated it, Tim never complained. He was always such a good sport.
“Today’s the last day of the month, Tim. Are you sure you’re ready for this?”
“It’s the same answer I give you every month. I will always be ready because we don’t have any other choice.”
Andrew knew that it was true, but it didn’t make his heart break any less. The two men started preparing. They had already gathered the toughest ropes and the strongest metal that they could find. They had built a metal box that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. They basically set up a torture device. Andrew couldn’t hold back his tears. He always feared that this day would come, and he would never see his soul mate again. He couldn’t help that Tim’s life was a risk to everyone else. He loved him anyways.
“Come on. Please keep it together. We never know when the time will be. It could be tonight, or it could be one hundred years from now. You cannot stress yourself out this much every time. It’s bad for your health.”
“I know you’re right, but it’s so hard. I don’t even know what I’m saying. Of course, it’s even harder for you.”
“I’ve lived with this my entire life. I’ve grown to accept it. Let’s just make the most of the time we have left together today and hope that we have more time.”
Andrew has no choice but to pull it together. He knows that. Tim has made so many plans for today. They have brunch at 11:00, mani-pedis at 2:00, and then they’re walking along the beach and having an early picnic for dinner. Tim bought the best wine and cheese because he knew that it was Andrew’s favorite. Andrew needed to be more grateful. He had the most loving and caring partner in the entire world. He is lucky for every day he is given with him, and he needed to start acting like it.
“I see that smile coming out,” Tim said beaming. “I told you, this day is going to be absolutely amazing. You have nothing to worry about. We’ve had a lot of time together, and if this is it, I think it was all still worth it. Don’t you?”
“You’re absolutely right. We have had an amazing life together. You have truly made my life more magical than I could have ever imagined, and I love you more than anything in the entire world. Let’s go to brunch.”
The men head downtown and order egg benedicts and pancakes and more mimosas than any two people should be able to drink. They don’t care. This day of sorrow has turned into a day of celebration. They’re celebrating everyday they’ve ever had together and what they hope is more to come. They stumble down the street to their next adventure. As they step foot into the nail salon, they are greeted with wide smiles and more mimosas. This day is truly one that dreams are made of. After they’ve been pampered, they head down to the beach. They act like they’re two teenagers who are skipping school in the middle of the week. They’re young and in love even though they’re in their thirties now. They’ve had almost twenty years of pure bliss together.
Too soon, the sun starts to set. Tim pulls out the charcuterie along with the bottle of wine.
“Cheers to the many years of happiness we’ve had, and the hope that we live to be one hundred.” This causes Andrew to tear up again, but he holds it together for Tim’s sake. If this is the last time that Tim sees him, he will make damn sure that it isn’t when he is crying. They clink glasses, and Andrew smiles through the pain as he takes another sip of wine. He can’t believe it’s been fifteen years since he learned of Tim’s affliction. It still hurts just as bad as the first time.
Fifteen years earlier, Andrew remembers walking into the apartment that he and Tim had just rented. They were twenty, young, and in love. He felt like they were bulletproof. No one could take this moment away from him. That very first night in their home, Tim sat him down. “Andrew, honey, there’s something we need to talk about.” Oh no, Andrew had known it was too good to be true. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. “I’m a werewolf, but not like in the movies. Every full moon, I turn, but there’s always a possibility I won’t turn back.” Andrew sat speechless. This was the absolute last thing he had ever expected to hear from the love of his life.
“You’re a what? A werewolf? I thought those were just in fairy tales.”
“Well, they obviously are not. I know this is a lot to take in. Normally, I would have let you go on oblivious to the entire ordeal, but since we are obviously pretty serious now, I knew I had to stop putting it off. Mainly because, I’m going to need your help. Every month, we have to put together a metal cage. This cage must be made with the strongest material, and there will be ropes to tie me up. I’ve never escaped before, but I get stronger every year. Last, there’s always a possibility that I won’t turn back as I already said. If I haven’t returned to human form by six in the morning, you have to kill me. Only a silver bullet will do. You have to promise me.”
Andrew would never forget that conversation. That’s why even fifteen years later, he still struggled to keep it together the night of a full moon. He was dreading the day that he would open the cage and instead of Tim, there would be a vicious wolf. He had convinced himself that if he stayed awake all night and watched over the metal box that Tim would always come back to him. In fifteen years, Andrew had never slept the night of a full moon.
“It’s almost time. I’m so glad that we were able to have this time together. I just want you to always know that I love you, and I always will no matter what happens.”
“You say that every time.”
“I mean it every time. Andrew, you know that you are my whole world. I would have never made it this far without you. I’ll never be able to repay you, and I know that, but I can always love you. Even when I’m not here, remember that.”
“I love you too, Tim. Okay, I think I’m ready now. You really did prepare a beautiful day for us. I’ll plan next month’s so you have no choice but to come back to me.” Andrew smiles weakly. He doesn’t need to convince Tim, but rather he needs to convince himself that everything is okay.
They walk to the center of the woods together. When they find the lake, they know they’re at the right spot. There’s the cage. It’s exactly where they always put it every month. Andrew shouldn’t be surprised anymore. They kiss and embrace one last time before Tim walks into the cage. Andrew follows him to tie him up and make sure that he cannot escape. They say I love you one more time, and Andrew shuts the door before Tim can see him cry. He takes a deep breath and waits. As the moon starts rising, he hears Tim began to change. He starts silently weeping. No one can see him in the middle of the woods. Andrew is convinced that this is the last time that he will ever see Tim. As he walks to the edge of the lake, he looks down and sees the moon reflecting on the water.