“Where Does It Hurt?”


Me: “Hey, Tweak.”

Tweak: “Hey.”

Her bones barely rattle. Tweak is a matted meatloaf on the couch.

Me: “You’re not feeling too good.”

Tweak: “I’m not feeling too well either.”

No, not a meatloaf — a baby bird. A drooling, anorexic sparrow.

Me: “Really? You’re going to go all ‘Grammar Nazi’ on me in your dying days??”

Tweak: “Am I dying?”

Long silence. In the last two weeks Tweak has lost one-third of her body weight. She has stopped grooming. She no longer eats.

Me: “I don’t know.” I pick at my mac and cheese.

Blood tests show that Tweak is not suffering from organ failure. Yet.

Me: “I bought you some Fancy Feast.”

Tweak: “Fancy Feast can suck my dick.”

A vet has confirmed that something is very wrong with Tweak, but they don’t know what.

Me: “Talking nasty is not going to put the weight on.”

Tweak nods at my hips. “You sure?”

I lean into the barb, take it like a gift. The point twists in my heart and flips my smile over. Caregiver’s schizophrenia.

Me: “You want some cream?”

Tweak: “No. Not right now.”

Me: “Oh, Tweak…”

I stab at my pasta, then throw it in the garbage.

Me: “Where does it hurt?”

Tweak: “Just point.”

A gentle, underpaid veterinarian with a smile as big as her student loans will sedate Tweak in the morning, and then poke around until she finds something she can fix. Or not.

Me: “I wish you could talk.”

Tweak: “Me, too.”


To be continued…


5 October 2016, Tolerating Tweak


My deflated sphinx.
My deflated sphinx.