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the lady and her new companion

published: 2013-02-17

There once was a lady, of middle age, who woke up in the mornings alone. When she wasn’t alone, she loved being it. She particularly loved a morning alone when granted. To have her first thoughts belong to herself, as opposed to the other: The child, the husband, the lover.
Oh how she longed for those thoughts of her won.
Then came the day that she got what she wished for. Bereft of the child, the husband, and even the lover, she lay in bed thinking. Thinking unpleasant thoughts, barren thoughts, mindless thoughts. There was no fruit to be picked from her brain. It had all ripened, fallen and rotted in the days when there had been no opportunity to pick them. She could smell the mould of the promise they once had. By and by, new sounds entered her home. Not the burps from her radiator and not even the drip of her leaking boiler. The cat that scratched her door, but only if that was in its own interest because it wanted food.
The sound that entered was a beep. And it came with a tall and skinny man. He felt cold upon initial touch, but if she held her hand on him for a while, he warmed up to her. At night, if she listened well, she could hear him breathe. Ever so slightly, like a pulse. And he’d drip too. A soft and gentle drop. With each little drop she felt strengthened by him.
One day, when she tired of being alone with him, she dragged him down the stairs. He was heavier than she thought. She scolded him for being so rigid. His arm poked into her stomach as she tried pulling him past the bend in the stairs. But she refused to give him his way. She and he were going out for a walk, whether he liked it or not.
By the time she made it to the park across the street she felt tired. She wanted to go home. She asked him to forgive her. He had been right all along. How was she going to carry him back upstairs? She sat on a bench for a while, staring at an icey filter on a pond and scolding the gulls for shrieking. She could no longer hear her companion, and not even her own thoughts. Perhaps she no longer had any.
Time past and suddenly she felt a nudge. A person had come to stand next to her and said: “your thing is beeping.”
“My thing?” she asked.
“Yes, the bag is empty. Do you need help?”
“Oh don’t mind him, he always whines when he needs attention. I suppose I should go back home and feed him,” she said, “thank you very much and have a nice day.”
As she got up, her knees buckled. She felt the sting of pain on the inside of her arm. She looked at her arm and saw the bruise, some blood, only a little, of where he had freed himself of her. She looked at how his needle dangled in the air next to her.
“Oh no,” she cried, “oh no. Don’t let him go home without me.”

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