Phoebe and Gabriel: A Modern Tragedy
by R.D. Hartwell
Every morning he waits at the door for her. She's not returning, but he hasn't caught on yet. He's young, or perhaps still a bit naive. It's part of his ritual each morning to look for her at the back door before he sits down to eat or goes off to play.
I can't see his tears as well as I can see my own. Perhaps he doesn't cry; either no reason to do so, at least in his mind, or no understanding as to why he should. I wonder how long it will take him to realize she will not greet him at the rear door ever again; or how long it will take for the everyday memory to become only an every-other-day or weekly one, and eventually fade to that nagging, periodic remembrance of only a half-captured image, a fleeting recognition? He's turned now to go into the kitchen for breakfast, having given up on her again, for this day at least.
I've been forced to give up on her too, but for different reasons. And yet, I too still stare out the door periodically, as if looking for her while knowing that we will never see her again. I wonder from which of us her image will slip most quickly? I suppose it's relative, no pun intended, as we are both waiting for a different her. I wonder which of us is the weaker: him, who is young and can more easily replace her loss with others; or me, older, no wiser really, and who knows her loss for what it is and doesn't want to replace her with another?
Gabriel flicks his tail as he turns for the door, his purr lost around the corner of the counter. He doesn't know that Phoebe had to be destroyed and won't be coming to the door anymore. But I do. And if he knew why, he would hate me forever, never letting that memory fade.