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The serious writer has a hamster. The hamster is dying. She drags her hindlegs and pees herself. The spirit of life is still strong in her: she climbs up the cage as she used to, then falls over to one side. Her left eye is half closed. She might have had a stroke. As he sees this, the serious writer’s heart breaks in small pieces suitable to feed the rodent, who will not eat or drink.
The serious writer has come to rely on his pet. He is reluctant to call her that, since she’s become a member of the family, albeit the least talkative one. He used to read his pieces to her. He enjoyed being with another creature purposelessly immersed in a mutual moment late at night.
Out of her one dark eye, the hamster considers the serious writer, who feels his humanity melt under her unlooking gaze. She feels little pain, only a deep tiredness as if she’d gone down one road too many. She delights in being able to move at all. She knows nothing of the embarrassment of her wobbly walk. The swaying of her little body seems odd but acceptable to her, as were the conditions of her incarceration, which she did not perceive as prison nor as a privilege. The large animals surrounding her, their stomping and shouting, reach her as if through a thick fog. She feels everything with the greatest alacrity now.
As she stiffens, as her small frame withers like a brush stroke splashed with water, the serious writer tears up and begins to sob angrily. He howls, his wail travels out on the street, rises above the roofs, and the soul of the tiny mammal rides to hamster heaven on a moonlight ray, carrying the sacrament of her short, nutty life to the starry skies.
published 17 October 2011
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