She stared into his beautiful eyes and they looked right back at her. Brown eyes with flecks of black solemnly considered her and the eyelids snapped shut again. The eyes belonged to a face that was tranquil in repose. It was a strong and powerful face full of character and it was attached to an equally athletic body. He seemed to be asleep but Brinda knew that it was just an illusion. She had never known anyone who could sleep at this time. He had been the light and she the cloud. His love had bestowed upon her the silver lining that she had craved since she was born. He had rescued her from an abyss so deep that she would have never found her way out alone. They had grown together learning and living like a married couple. He had slept next to her, played silly games, travelled around the country, picked her up at all times and even defended her when she needed it.
Life was a dagger thrust callously into insouciant hearts.
One day she had found him rolling around on the bed complaining about a deep dastardly pain. She knew instantly that fate had interceded into their lives. She had taken him to the doctor who had taken one look at him and had the good sense to keep his abysmal thoughts to himself. Brinda could not bring herself to speak; hence she did not attempt it. She returned back with him in the car and they walked back inside with not a single word between them. Silence was not golden but black and unwilling.
It had been twenty one days since that fateful visit. Weakness crept up his legs and eventually all over his body. He was constantly tired floating on fatigue’s slip stream. Food had ceased to be palatable right from the beginning. Water; that indubitable essence of life found no sanctuary within him. Vitality had bled from him in a sudden flood until it steadied itself into a relentless drip. His once proud muscles had shrunk into thin reedy threads unable to support his magnificent frame. Unsurprisingly, food had found its way onto the hate list. Living had taken a backseat for Brinda. She stopped going to work and instead spent all her time sitting with him.
She still recalled the very first day that she had met him. It had been a totally unexpected encounter for he had surprised her by jumping directly into her arms. She had held him like a baby with his sweet little nose burrowing into her breasts. She knew then that she had been thrown a lifeline that would enable an escape from the morass of her own life. He was baptized that very day and became Ming.
Ming accompanied her to his home where he spent the next 7 years forging an unparalleled partnership with Brinda.
Ming and Brinda were the talk of the town. Anyone could see that they were in love with each other. As Ming grew, he became long limbed and turned into a rangy protector. He was a fearsome beast capable of breaking arms or legs with a single snap. But thankfully no such incident occurred and the years rolled on for the inseparable duo. He dwarfed her with his huge body and people would gape at this incongruous pair as they patrolled the streets outside of Brinda’s home.
Lightning however was not to be denied and today she was here with Ming stroking him as he sat on his haunches breathing laboriously. She rubbed his face down with a wet cloth prying away distress signs from his nostrils. He refused to sleep on his side like he always used to do. Intuitively Brinda realized that the pressure on his chest must be enormous. Whenever his chest was touched he would issue a soft growl that seemed to emanate from the very fiber of his being. Sadness was lying discarded in a heap for it had no potential use for Brinda.
Ming opened his eyes and looked at her. He knew that his friend was suffering but he had no magic wand to wave. He could not jump up and lick her face like he always used to do. He could not even nuzzle her in the ribs which would always bring a laugh from her. He loved to hear that laugh for it filled him with a deep abiding satisfaction. It was nothing that he could explain but it just felt right. Life had always been simple for Ming. When something felt right to him, it was invariably perfect.
He felt something very wrong deep inside his body. He had felt like that a long time ago but he had suffered the pain in silence. Whenever Brinda came home from work, he would run up to her and snuggle up. He would lick her face until she begged for mercy. Miraculously the pain would disappear when she sat with him stroking his ears. He could not fathom a life without her for he did not even remember his own mother.
Brinda was the only friend he ever had in his life if you discounted the mongrels who howled at him whenever they passed the house. But as days went by the pain grew inside of him just like a baby would. Oh, he knew all about babies for she had taken him to a farm where he had enjoyed himself. He would never trade any of his experiences for an evening alone with Brinda. He would plop his massive frame across her lap while she watched TV and would refuse to get off. But Brinda was smart and she always knew that a piece of biscuit would have him foaming at the mouth. So it was a little game that they used to play every single day even though they both knew the outcome from the very beginning.
He sometimes saw her crying sitting at the dining table but he could not get up and cross over to her. He had no strength left in his legs and all he could do was to watch over her in misery. Ming knew about sadness for he had learnt it from Brinda herself. She used to feel very sad when he had first come to her. She used to cry for no reason at all but he had taken care of that. He would jump up on her bed biting and slobbering over her until she begged him to stop. Soon she stopped being sad but their silly game had continued until he was unable to do it anymore.
For the very first time in his life, he felt incapable of taking care of himself. He could not go out on his own and that was very embarrassing. Brinda had to help him up, take him outside and even hold him while he tinkled. One unfathomable day, she had to hold his leg up while he finished himself. It was the strangest thing that he had ever faced and he felt belittled. The pain by now had started gnawing at his insides and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. He had tried to roll on it sticking his paws up in the air. Brinda had given him some dreadful white stuff to eat which he detested but she had forced it down his throat.
He was surprised one day when the doctor had visited their house. He knew all about doctors for they poked him full of holes and gave him foul smelling things to eat. He would usually chase the doctor away once they were done with him with a couple of menacing growls and some full throated barks. This time the doctor had given him the usual treatment and Ming had reciprocated. Brinda had come over and hugged him so hard that it had hurt his ribs but he did not utter a single squeak. He suffered in silence while she rocked him with her arms just like she used to do when he was a little puppy.
Ming knew that he was born with wisdom about his own body but he did not understand how to communicate that to Brinda. He wanted to tell her that he must not eat anymore for it would somehow harm him. He wanted to let her know that he should not be running around the house for it would make the pain inside of him worse. For some strange reason he could not tolerate anyone except Brinda being around him. He wanted her and only her at all times. Why the other day he had surprised himself by growling against the maid who cleaned their house. He was of course instantly ashamed but he could not explain the hostility. He just knew that only Brinda must stay with him from now on. He was not sure how long he would need her but instinctively he knew that it would not be for long.
Brinda looked at his angelic trusting eyes and she was lost in a storm of sensation. She stroked his body from head to hind quarters reveling in his leonine frame. The pointed ears flopped about aimlessly giving him a droll appearance. Bony ribs reminded her of his once majestic bearing. His wagging tail brought a flood of fresh tears to her eyes and she turned away weeping at the cruel overtures of life’s little operas.
There was something wrong with Ming’s vision and all of a sudden he realized that Brinda appeared vague and hazy. It alarmed him for he wanted to look at her all the time. But her smell always hung around her like used clothes and that filled him with satisfaction. Even if he could not see her he would always be able to feel her nearby. He subsided to the floor trying to wedge his body in a comfortable enough position. He found it difficult to breathe as the air wheezed out of him in short low powered gasps.
Ming could not suppress a single long howl as the pain welled up tearing at his insides. Instantly Brinda was at his side stroking his ears and hugging him with force. He tried to tell her that it was hurting him but she was not even looking at him. He made a supreme effort suffering silently unbeknownst to her. He suddenly knew that something was terribly wrong with him and Brinda could not fix it like she always did. He knew that he must wait for it to arrive and not do anything else. He did not know what it was but he was aware that it was nearby.
Brinda stood up and immediately Ming was alarmed. He wanted her to stay with him until it arrived. He tried to speak to her but to his horror his voice was gone. He could not growl or bark any more. With an agonized snarl that hurt him, he pawed at her leg begging her to stay back. Brinda looked down at him and she realized that he wanted her to stay. She immediately squatted down at his side and stroked his paw. Ming tried to lick her face but Brinda shushed him and forced him to lie back down. He felt her lie down beside him and she gently rocked him. He felt incredibly happy that she was next to him and after a while he could feel her deep even breathing signifying that she had slept.
Ming however could not sleep because it was becoming very difficult for him to breathe. He struggled to keep himself upright. His breath was slowing down and he could barely see anything at all. He could still feel Brinda’s warm body sleeping gently beside him and that settled him down. He wanted to lick her face but the rending pain prevented any such action.
Brinda was awake in a flash as the noise of the death rattle reverberated around her. She looked at Ming who had his eyes open but were unseeing. Tears came to her eyes and she wept for Ming. She cuddled his massive head on her lap and kept talking to him. But Ming was past hearing her and now his breath was at very low ebb. She could barely hear it and she could not see his chest move at all. He suddenly opened his eyes and looked directly at her as if to say good bye. All of a sudden a spasmodic jerk signaled the final onset and he kicked his legs once and stayed still. Blood rushed out from his mouth and covered Brinda’s lap soaking into her clothes and forming a giant puddle on the floor.
She stared into the distance holding Ming’s head in her lap. She cared not that she was drenched in his blood. She hugged his lifeless body thrusting his lolling tongue back inside his open mouth. His dull brown eyes did not recognize her. The great body weighed a ton on her lap. She stayed at his side the entire night and they found her still wide awake in the morning. She had spent her last night with Ming and a new day had dawned. It was time for her to go back to her dreary life. They buried Ming in the backyard and she planted a little plaque over his grave. The plaque read:
The future is past. Go in peace.
Brinda never loved another. She lived alone with the ethereal presence of Ming in her shadows. Fate had its ironies after all because exactly 17 years later she was a victim of a hit and run accident. She was thrown like a rag doll on to the sidewalk and lay injured. A four legged canine appeared out of nowhere and sat next to her snuggling close to her dying body until she had breathed her very last. She was found with a dog that refused to leave her side. It had eyes of the silkiest brown flecked with black.
Life stories are always about real life experiences which are collected from real people. Sometimes I do it myself and at other times I get it second hand. Names/places are generally fictitious so that the subject’s identity is not compromised.
In case you are interested in my collection of life stories, they can be found here: