By the end, Kenny coughed and spluttered throughout the day. Only when he slept did the gurgling nestled deep in his throat, stop. I knew it was the end – I’d known so for months. It didn’t make the goodbye any easier; leaving him there alone, imagining the high-pitched squeal of metal on metal.

The first time I met Kenny, I had looked on in both admiration and fear. Blue suited him but the way the sun glittered off of his edges made him seem dangerous. There was a moodiness about him, particularly in bad weather. I admired his strength though, his ability to take me to places I’d never seen before.

Soon my fear turned into courage; an unwavering sense of belief in myself. Thanks to Kenny and his patience. We battled storms within and without. We felt the rain lash our faces and the wind rattle us about. Sometimes we even ventured into hail and snow together; tackling the bitterness life often proffers, as a gift.

After two house moves, one break-up and the arrival of a cat, Kenny soon became an escape. An asylum. A sanctum. I worshipped his quiet. Thanked the cotton-candied heavens for his warmth and reassuring grumble. His ability to drive every care away into some place new. Into a new light, so my troubles no longer appeared as forbidding and sharp.

To put it simply, he was a confidant. He was the first to feel the measure of my day (nails buried deep in leather); the first and last to hear me sob unashamedly and messily; the one I giggled in front of without shielding my teeth. He had been more to me than I had imagined he would be when we first met.

So, by the end, all I could offer him was undying thanks wedded to memories of every time we had run away together to flout existence’s wants. I could not comfort him. I could not stop time from wreaking its inevitable effects. All I could do, was hope. Hope that by the time it happened, he would be too far gone; deafened to the high-pitched squeal of metal on metal.


Prose: © Kristiana Reed 2020

Between the Trees UK

Between the Trees US

Signed copies on Etsy

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