#14. do you prefer me being pretty or healthy?

Say, Becky, has anyone told you that you’re ugly? Straight to your face?

I lie down on the green moss carpet that the forest so generously gifts to me. Becky rests her whole fat body on my chest and purrs happily as I stroke her tiny pointy ears.

Oh, plenty, my good sir, she yawns and lifts up her chin, which commands me to stroke the fur under it, Most of it come from you.

Becky is growing really fat, I said, stroking The Lover’s hair as he lied on top of me in the same way Becky would normally do after I fed her, She’s growing ugly.

So? Do you prefer her being pretty or healthy?

I prefer her being pretty.

That so? The Lover said, his shoulders tensed up in an attempt to rouse up from his current position.

Yes. But stop with that nonsense. What does it even matter?

It does, The Lover laughed, it does. Becky will feel hurt, you know, when she knows that there is someone out there favor her beauty instead of her being healthy and happy.

I said that? I stop stroking Becky’s ears. She gently pushes her soft head against my stopping hand, purring nonstop.

Yes, you said that, and many other hurtful things.

Should I say sorry for that? I turn to the White Misty Thingy. The foggy hand places on top of mine. A small space separates him from being loved and me from being forgiven.

I wonder what it means, Becky says, resting her fluffy head on her paws.


Saying sorry. I often see it. A human saying sorry to another human. But what does it really mean? That they regret their action? Or that they hope the other person will accept their action because they won’t change? What does the word “sorry” really mean?

I tighten my grip on the cold foggy hand. It quickly disperses on the green moss carpet and concentrates into the shape of a hand, once again, laying on top of mine.

I don’t know, I look at the White Misty Thingy, thoughts after thoughts running in the brain that is half dead and half alive, I guess it means neither of those.

Then what’s the point in saying sorry?

What’s the point of you saying sorry when you would just repeat the same action over and over again?

I said I’m sorry, isn’t that enough? I yell at The Lover and as an intelligent response of a person who has survived higher education, he throws a vase at me. I dodge the fatal attack in the blink of an eye because any second later than that, I would be half dead.

So that’s it? The Lover asks.

You already throws a fucking vase at me. What more do you want?

What more do I want? He repeats my question and proceeds to laugh wryly. He crouches down on the floor and the laugh continues on and on, What more do I want?

He lifts his head up. His dark glistening irises look like crystal will fall out of his eyes anytime at his own command. But they do not. His dry lips curl up into a smile fulled of bitterness. I often wonder whether the bitterness in his smiles aim at me, or at another person. A third person in this relationship that grows more and more toxic as days go by. A shadow of something that looks like pains and sufferings and regrets. A smile that says we wishes to be more than what we already are.

Honey, I don’t want your sorry, he proceeds to say as he lies down on the wooden floor that is too bright for his mood and too dark for his hopes and dreams, I don’t want your sorry.

I crouch down beside his living corpse, my hand laying on top of his. The warmth of human skin and the pulsing purple veins on his thin wrist convey everything that is unspeakable between us. I lie down, facing him, eyes to eyes. My Lord, I think to myself, those eyes will be the death of me. And as I realize that fact, I stroke his tangled hair gently and whisper to his ears, dropping tender kisses in between each breath I take:

Honey, I know. I know.

We lied there for a while. His hand in my tight grip. His bony fingers intertwine with my thicker ones. The human warmth in between and everywhere. The soft light of the bedroom illuminated his face, and in his ephemeral eyes, I see where love is found and where it will die.

Remember the other day when you ask me whether I prefer Becky to be pretty or healthy?

Yes. What of it?

This is my answer, I kiss each of his fingers, I prefer this. I prefer this over everything else.

He smiles at me. I don’t know what is reflected in his glistening irises, but it calms me down. It looks a lot like love, but the me at the time finds it hard to stare at it eyes to eyes.

I know, darling, I know, The Lover whispers. In a flickering moment, it feels as if the world outside is declaring war on the both of us, and inside this small apartment, we are the last of our kinds: the only two people being in love and believing that love can heal everything.

I guess the point in saying sorry is, I push Becky of my chest. She grumbles a little while before setting four paws on the green moss carpet, to ask for a permanent forgivenness.


Yes. Something like, Oh, I know my action hurts you but I can’t change who I am so please forgive me, I turn to the White Misty Thingy, picturing the same bitter smile in my memory on the foggy canvas, Darling, please forgive me permanently.

That’s quite a lot to ask for in one setting, Becky licks her front paws and wipes them across her face. I wonder if she ever realizes how dirty that action is.

I know. That’s the point, Becky. And because that’s a lot to ask for in one setting, we live our whole life keep on thanking and apologizing to each other. But a simple “sorry” is not enough.

The White Misty Thingy wraps his foggy hand-or-tail-or-whatever-it-is around my wrist and urges me on the grassy road ahead. I feel the same warmth of the human skin and the pulsing purple veins from the lost memory of a long time ago.

You have to put your heart out there. Because it’s a gamble: you place your heart down as a bet and if you are lucky, the other person, whoever they are, will continue to love you. Permanently.


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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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