#15. the fourth song

Becky and I sits by a little campfire that I (mainly) built with the (little) help from her. Are you getting fatter? I ask. She glances dagger at me and for a moment, I finally know how a look could kill.

The White Misty Thingy curls his smoky arm around me. My eyes can’t distinguish between his foggy form and the smoke of the campfire. But somehow, my heart can feel his hands in mine.

It’s strange how the eyes only see the big picture while the heart always prefers the little details.

Hey, sing a song, I ask him, aren’t you always singing when we take a rest?

He smiles brightly. His eyes squinted into the half-moon shape. The glistening dark irises disappear, replaced by the eyelashes that fans out in the shape of butterfly wings.

I went out in the dark night,

as you went back from your job.

Your coat was soaked with the rain

and there was a faint smell of cigarette smoke.

I choked on the thought that you had to live out there in the dark

while I was safe here, sheltered by your excessive love

and grudges.

They prefer me being pretty, I said. And you asked,


The neighbors.


The shopkeepers.


The cashiers at our usual supermarket.


Your serious eyes – filled with anger – stopped my listing. Then you smiled,

The only person you should listen to

is me.

Then do you prefer me being healthy or pretty?

I prefer you, you answered curtly.

Of course you would be annoyed. I asked you this very same questions,

day by day,

month by month.

And if you were on your deathbed right then,

I would gladly ask you that very same question, too.

I prefer you, you repeated in a gentler tone,

then you turned towards me and ruffled my hair.

Whether fat or thin,

crazy or healthy,

pretty or ugly,

whatever you are, I will always prefer you;

and if given the choice – of choosing between you and being rich:

I would choose you again and again.

We settled the score with your simple words and your rough hands.

I never had the chance to say,

Me too. If I were given the choice of choosing between you and being rich,

I would choose you, too.

Is it still the same now? Becky asks.


Is it still true? That you would prefer him over everything else?

Oh, that.

I look at the White Misty Thingy. The truth is I hated how I had to cater to his every whims, even when I was on my bad days. The truth is it’s hard to keep the love burning to keep him warm enough on the cold winter days. The truth is –

The truth is I still prefer him. Over the neighbors. Over the shopkeepers. Over the cashiers at our usual supermarket. I still prefer him over everything else, I say.

Becky licks her front paw. I don’t understand you human, she says and yawns, isn’t it better to sit down and talk it out?

Of course you wouldn’t understand, I laugh, holding the foggy hand tightly in mine physical one, we human were raised on the principle that dictates, Do not trust other humans.

What a ridiculous principle, Becky places her soft head on my laps, Us cats were not raised on that. And look at us: We are still fine.

I suppose, I stroke her pointy ears, I guess it is better if we were raised the way kittens were raised.

But you are humans though.

Yes, I say, and that’s the saddest part.



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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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