I pull down the large, spiral bound note book from the shelf next to my desk. I turn off my computer and glance over at Muse. He seems uninterested. I tap him on the shoulder and he lets his head flop so that he can look at me. His eyes are large and lavender with silver lining the edges. There was once a time that just looking into his eyes could inspire me to write love poems and to look around at everyone I met with the hope that there was someone near me, waiting for love as well.
He says nothing, just keeps staring at me. He knows that the scribbles in this note book are what keep us fed and warm. But they just don’t seem to matter to him. I wonder if he even needs to eat in order to survive. He has always helped himself to plenty of the items in the fridge or the cupboard, but it still seems as though he is getting thin.
Pain niggles at me and I try to push it away while I focus on what I am seeing. Yes, he is thinner. I can see the lines of his ribs beneath his dark fur. This is shedding; visible on the chair he is lounging in. I can’t recall another time that it had happened. His eyes are pleading, but he says nothing.
“Muse, what is happening to you?” I ask. Reaching out my hand and scratching between his ears, I wait for any kind of answer. None is coming. One more good scratch and then I get up. At the other desk in the small room, there is a coffee maker squatting in a circle of cups, sugars and little cups of creamer. I select a coffee and fill the small filter. Inhaling deeply, I wonder if he can even smell it anymore. The machine sputters and coffee streams down into the green cup waiting below. Two heaps of sugar and eight of the creamers make for the perfect Muse coffee.
Setting it down on the little table in front of him, I watch for a response. There is nothing. His eyes seem dim and glassy. Has he died? Gripping his shoulders, I shake him while calling his name. His body is limp and flops with my efforts. His eyes flutter and he moans, but gives no meaningful response. I sit next to him. It feels as though there is something that I should be doing, but I feel helpless. The coffee steam coils up out of the hot liquid and dances lazily up to the ceiling.
Music is the next idea that comes to me. Putting his favorite mix CD into the machine, I push play and sit back next to him. Running my fingers through the fur on his side, I sing to the songs beneath my breath while I wait for him to revive. There is nothing that moves him. He has been this way for days and I cannot understand what it is that struck him down.
Giving up on working, I curl up in the chair around him and wrap my arms about him. So, small. His head fits easily beneath my chin and his back curves against my stomach. It is nice to feel him breathing. Eyes closed, mouth open and tongue resting out on his bottom lip; he looks vulnerable. His fingers are long and twisted up in the fur on his chest. Without trying to untangle them, I slide my hands over his.
“I wonder if I could write your story, Muse,” I whisper.
At first, it was just something to say. But I can feel it now beating in my chest and each thud moves through him with a subtle vibration. What was his story? It sadness me that we have lived together for all these years and I still knew nothing about him. Even the most simple things about his history were blanks to me. I had no dead where he had come from. Was he born, hatched or did he simply rise up from the darkness?
“Where are you from?” I ask.
There is no reply. I wait. I have all the time in the world when I am like this, in his place. While it was in the same world as mine, it seemed like stepping a little to the side and finding myself some other place. He always makes the whole of the world feel this way. One hand on his and one hand gently petting his long ear; I continue to consider my strange little friend. I could not think of a time that he was not with me. When I woke, I was aware of him before I had opened my eyes.
He is moving now, taking the note book from my desk and pressing it into my hands. I sit up and open it to the first blank page. Sitting behind me now, he whispers and I write. My hand cramps with the effort and I still write. There is no keeping up with him now. The whispering is insistent and quietly demands that I continue to work. When my eyes get tired and my hand slows, he twists his body around mine and I think that I can write another page. Just one more, then I will go to bed.
I never made it there. Waking now, I find myself in the chair with the notebook clutched in my hands. Muse, is sitting on the floor next to me and looking up at me. I can hear him, but I have other things to attend to first. Shuffling into the bathroom, he skips behind me talking with out taking a breath. Then into the kitchen and I grab a bagel. My hands are quick to pluck up an apple in passing. It is hard to think with him chattering so loudly.
Looking at the coffee I had set out for him, I shrug. This was good enough. It was cold, too sweet and little more then flavored milk. But he is not waiting for anything now. The not book balances on my lab while I write with one hand and stuff with bagel into my mouth with the other. Pausing a moment, I look over to Muse. He is standing next to the chair. He cannot hold still; hopping back and forth while words flow out. I affectionately pat him on the top of the head and give him a little kiss on the nose.