When Glorious Eyes Close
by Suzanne Conboy-Hill
They had been together forever, sharing their space unconditionally, and delivering affectionate cuffs around the ear at mutually agreed intervals. Now she is gone, the victim of disease that manifested suddenly, mercilessly and without remission. He is lost. He hadn’t known what to do when she began to fail, and couldn’t be with her at the end, although everything possible had been done to allow him that. Suddenly she was not her, she was something else that responded differently and needed less, but also more, from him. He couldn’t manage those changes. He moved away from her.
Now he is alone. There is other company, but he has no relationship with most of them, other than one of dominance and superiority. He can’t show submission to any of these, or succumb to the playfulness she had been able to deliver without threat to his status.
He howls his uncomprehending loneliness, and seeks solace from the one source he believes to be acceptable. It will do. He can still curl up in her arms and she will hold him with affection. But it is not the same as lying together nose to nose, catching each other’s glorious eyes and stretching languorously around each other’s bodies.
Seeking comfort for something he cannot identify, he insinuates himself into her space. She holds him and he purrs, but there is no answering buzz. That feels wrong but he doesn’t know why. Maybe this was how it had always been.
The hollowness inside says no and holds in its vacuum the last remnants of his loss.