“He’s gone, Anna.”
I don’t know how else to get through to her. She’s sat the same way for days now, staring blankly out the window. She never rests. Her arm remains stubbornly wrapped in an uncomfortable hook around the neck of her beloved companion, her sweet dog Max. There’s nothing to see outside, but she refuses to turn and look at me.
“I’m here for you. I will do anything you need, I promise you. Can’t you please, please listen to me? I need you to hear me, Anna. I need you to snap out of it. He’s gone. He’s not coming back.”
My words are harsh, yes, but I’m desperate. Nothing I do or say moves her. She must eat. She must sleep. She must return to the land of the living. If she wants to follow him over to the other side, she’ll have to fight me to the death first. I’m her best friend, and I will not allow her to lose herself to grief. I can’t. She’s all I have.
Now, I’m all that she has. Well, also Max, who crouches protectively at her side just like always. I thought I’d be her primary source of comfort, but she’s chosen to cling to him instead. I fight resentment, knowing I have to focus on what she needs. This is not about me. It’s not. It’s about saving my Anna, no matter what ugly words I must utter to do so.
“Anna. Listen. He’s gone. You can look out there all day, every day, but you won’t see him. He’s not coming back. I’m sorry, sweetie. I’m so, so sorry, but you have to hear me. You have to accept the truth. You’re going to kill yourself if you keep on this way. You have to eat. You have to sleep. Let me take care of you.”
I adore her endlessly. My life hardly existed before she entered it, but when she became my best friend, I blossomed. She stuck by my side through good times and bad. I’d never known real love before Anna. My father abandoned me when I was a child. My mother could barely stand to look at me in the miserable years before I finally fled home, a resented reminder of a love gone sour. I’ve never gotten a man to stick around long enough to make an honest woman of me. Then this beautiful soul came into my world and transformed it forever.
I was happy for her when she found Josh. She deserved the best, and he was a good man. He treated her well. He didn’t love her as much as I did, but who could? There was nothing in this world that could transcend our connection. Nothing. Poor Josh. He should’ve known better than to try and separate us.
I couldn’t help it. It happened so fast. She told me that they were moving across the country, that Josh had found a wonderful job opportunity. She looked so excited. How could she be happy if she was leaving me? It never occurred to me that when she found love with him, I might lose her. I thought that was impossible. I thought she’d always care about me the most. I needed her to care about me the most.
She’d never know. In the early hours of the morning, I’d dashed into the street in front of his car as he sped hurriedly to work, running late. I knew there was a treacherous ice patch on that particular turn. I knew he never wore his seat belt. I knew that he’d do just about anything to avoid hitting me, his beloved’s very best friend in the entire world. I knew that I would risk death in order to preserve my life.
I gambled, and I won. Now, it seems, there’s one little obstacle still standing in my way.
I notice that she’s finally crumbled, heaving with silent sobs. I take the opportunity to move quietly to her side and release Max from her vice grip. “Let me take him for a walk, my love. Rest. You rest now.”