#11. pinky promise?

I say, why is this forest so dark and gloomy? Are you trying to lead me down to Hell?

Becky turns her head slightly and gives me a sharp glance as if I have offended Her Majesty in a very nasty way, and there is no chance for me to gain back her trust.

A look that says, How dare you. A look that says, You’re a special kind of idiot.

Of course this forest would be dark and gloomy, Becky says, moving on steadily, shaking her fat round hip and waving her tail, After all, the spring is not here yet.

Then when will the spring be here?

When the spring is here, let’s travel together, The Lover says as he curls up on my laps, with the cat lying at his feet.

Where do you want to go?

I don’t know. Somewhere far?


Somewhere warm?


Somewhere the darkness can’t reach?

I stroke his hair gently. His hair smells like a forest after the rain. The kind of forest where moss grows uncontrollably and the old, ancient trees give of a warm wooden smell. And I love it I love it I love it.

Let’s go see the forest when you get better.

But the doctor says I will never get better, he laughs, trying to stop my disturbing hands from lifting his shirt up, You see, honey, my life is barely holding onto the pills the doctor prescribes. There will be my better days, there will be my worse days, but I will never get better.

Then let’s go see the forest on your better days.

In Spring?


Pinky promise? The Lover waves his pinky finger at me. There’s a hint of cruel childishness in the hazel irises, where my love is reflected back upon me.

Yes, pinky promise. And all other kind of promises.

You know, I feel like the Spring never comes around where I live.

Why’s that.

All I can see is a vast field of snow. Sometimes, the sun shines through the dark, gloomy cloud and blesses us with a little bit of warmth. But that’s it. Spring never comes. And the pinky promise is forever a pinky promise.

You know, you don’t have to wait for the spring to come. You can just act on your pinky promise, Becky rolls her eyes at me, Humans are strange creature. As for me, I will go wherever I like, whenever I like, and do whatever I like.

Because cats are fickle animals, I retort.

No, Becky turns her whole fat body around and stares at me. This is the first time she looks me in the eyes and sees me for who I am. It feels strange when she drops the sarcastic act, We are not fickle animals, she says, it’s just we have more courage than you human.

And curiosity.

Yep. That’s the bigger part of it, she continues down the road, but from a cat’s eyes level, you can’t see much, you know. So be it spring or summer, autumn or winter, we only see one thing.

And what’s that thing?

Becky is in love with you, I says, getting annoyed at the doting attention The Lover spends on the fat, ugly cat I pick up from the shelter. The cat seems to understand the importance of being loved more than me. She is purring at every movement The Lover makes.

And would you mind that?

I would mind that very much.

Becky went out the other night, you know, The Lover says. His unusual mood swing and sudden change of conversation topics never stop to amaze me.


It was cold. The weather says there are 70% of snow. And yet Becky still decided to go out on her tiny adventure. I say tiny because it only took her 5 minutes, and then she’s back home.

Isn’t it a good thing then? You didn’t lose Becky, I say while embracing his fragile figure in my arms and bury my nose on his collarbone. The Lover smells like the forest after a sudden burst of rain.

That’s not the point I am trying to make, he chuckles. His bony hand with the gentle fingers that I love so dearly ruffles my hair, Now don’t do that. I don’t like it when you tickle me.

Then what do you propose to do now? I look at him. Perhaps the desire in me at that moment burns the rational being within me. And when I begin to regret it, there’s nothing left of The Lover’s tenderness but a pile of burnt coal, signaling that once upon a time, there was love inside that coal mine.

Let’s move to the bed, he says, if that’s what you want. Let’s move to the bed. Now don’t do that. I don’t like to see your melancholy.

Say, Becky.


When will the winter snow go away?

Does it even matter?

I promise him I would take him traveling when the snow stops. But the snow never stops, and before I could do something about it, it’s already too late.

Isn’t that what always happen? Before you could do something about it, it will always be too late.

Say, Becky.

What now? She hisses.

Will the spring rain come to this forest?

Becky doesn’t answer. In her place, the White Misty Thingy flows to my side, and puts what I suppose to be his hands on mine. Then slowly and ever so gentle, he uses that hand to ruffle my hair.

Now don’t do that. I don’t want to see your melancholy.

I have an urge to cry right there, at that exact moment, where everything stands still and the hand of a mystical being is trying its best to ruffle the unkempt hair on my head.

Darling, I meant to go out with you in the nights you can’t sleep.

Darling, I also don’t want to see your melancholy.

Darling, darling, darling –

What are you doing? Move it along. We don’t have much time.

I turn around, and in front of me, the first flower in the forest is blooming. Then come the ones next to it. The forest wakes up and stretches itself out with a carpet of tiny flowers of white and red and blue and all other colors. Above our head, the sun is struggling to shine through the thick mass of tree branches and leaves. I stands there, dumbstruck. Have forests always been beautiful? Or is it because –

You never see the beauty of it.

Of what?

The forest after the rain. The spring flowers after the winter snow. And even –


The beauty of human. After all, humanity is beautiful. Weird, but beautiful. The Lover chuckles. He buries his head into my flat, firm chest as if trying to find a shelter there, Say, when I am on my better days, would you go with me to the park?


Pinky promise?

Yes. Pinky promise.

The spring is here, Becky glances at me through her half-moon eyes, And it will always be here. Just like the winter, the autumn, the summer, and everything in between. They will outlive us all, but you don’t see the beauty of them.

I look at the White Misty Thingy. I can see the form of his hand better now. The same thin wrists. The same bony fingers. The same pulsing veins on the back of his hands, except that they are no longer pulsing since that day. I try to hold it, but my attempts are in vain. The misty hands disappear the moment I touch it.

Let me do it all again, I cries, let me do it all again. A pinky promise. Please just give me a pinky promise.

But the White Misty Thingy doesn’t response. Not in verse or in any spoken words. I crouch down on the moss carpet of the forest. His scent’s in between and everywhere. And although there’s no longer a snowy, dark, and cold winter – although the Spring is finally here and the flowers are all blooming – why can’t I get back to the start?

See? Do you get it now? That is the topic that The Lover wants to talk about.



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Author: Thanh Dinh

A writer at heart. A pessimist on the brain. I am always on the great journey of finding what it means to be living.

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