|For Old Times' Sake...
© Wanderer -- all rights reserved
Caesar looks up from his place on the bed, looking oddly red-hued. It isn't blood ... ignoring it, I start to pet him, the soft fur tickling against my pale fingers ...
I wake up.
I sigh. Dreams of old friends, including my favorite tabby tom, always leave me gently melancholy. Still, something nags at the back of my brain...
It's *that* day ... no wonder.
Clambering out of bed, I shakily get to my feet. As I pass through the hall, I look wistfully at the room that held so many pets once upon a time.
As I gaze, I seem to hear myself, down through the years ...
" ... I love you, Caesar. I always have and I always will. ... "
" ... such a pretty Mitzipuppy, yes ... "
I pass on, and ... I come to the living room.
" ... Sunshine? Sunshine, please ... "
I close my eyes to the old memory of her last agonies, her claws the only thing she could move ... no, I mustn't dwell on that.
I pass through the den.
" ... I love you, Mother. I love you very much. ... "
" ... Hello, Mary. Ah, and who's this you brought home? ... "
The spectres of memory glide through my mind, each with a scar inside to commemorate it.
The room is dark to save on power as I enter the kitchen. The oven ...
" ... it HURTS!
Ah, that incident with the casserole dish, when, as I like to say, my hands moved and the potholders didn't.
As I gaze through the slits in the unopened venetian blinds, I can see the annuals we planted on Caesar's grave. For a moment, I see him again, curiously sniffing the syringe even as the pink fluid slides into his artery ... forever caught between one moment and the next.
So many memories ... and always worst today.
Slowly, sadly, I start to sing.
"Happy Birthday to me ... Happy Birthday to me ... Happy Birthday, dear ... "
For a moment, I lose my name. Which am I now? Wanderer? Charles? Eddie?
Of course. Only one left.
"Happy Birthday, dear Wand'rer ... Happy Birthday to you ... "
The last note trails away, my voice thick and slow. Birthdays lately always remind me of Narnia, before the return of Aslan. "Always winter, and never Christmas". I smile at the fond memories, the beautiful words and imagined pictures. Oh, Aslan, I think to myself, you would weep to see the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve now. And your writer as well. Turning from the window, I open the refrigerator and start to fix myself a sandwich, mulling over my thoughts as I do so.
It isn't that I want a party ... well, I do, a little ... but ... well ...
I just want someone to think of me. Not always. Just every now and then.
As I munch my way through the ham and cheese, I look at the roses. They seem to be doing well this year. I smile. Me and my roses. I never care for them, I don't water or feed them, and they always come back.
First co-dependent roses I ever heard of.
Licking my muzzle, I start digging through the dryer until I find my second pair of jeans. Good. I'll need them. After a long tooth-brushing, I get dressed. A few hours of reading time at the library, then off to the Blind Pig.
Maybe someone will want to talk with me about something.
I sigh. Some days, the wealth of memories in this house threatens to crush me. Friends, neighbors, relatives, fam ... pets ... so much, so many.
I check my schedule. Two auditions next week, nothing else.
Twisting my muzzle into a mocking smile, I start to sing,
"These. Are . The. Days, my friend, Let's hope they never end, Let's make them last, Forever and a day. We'll live the life we choose, We'll fight and never lose, For we are young, and we shall have our way. Di di di di, di-di, Di-di-di-di, di-di, Di-di-di-di, di di-di di, di-di. Di-di-di-di, di-di, Di-di-di-di, di-di, These are the dayyyys ... "
My voice cracks unmercifully on the sudden jump, and I wince.
"My friend, these are the day - ayyyyyys!"
Ouch! *That* was a clinker. I shake my head sadly at my reflection. The old gray wolf just ain't what he used to be. I smile. Bet the poet never thought of that one.
And, with a jaunty smile and a well-placed mask, I set out once more into the world.
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org