The Lone Wolf

The Bridgekeeper was doing his usual rounds. Every couple of hours the Bridgekeeper would walk
the lands at Rainbow Bridge, making sure that there was plenty of fresh water, toys, and treats
for each one of the residents.

Every time the Bridgekeeper passed by the Edge of Forever, he noticed the same silhouette sitting there --- tail flat,
head on paws, gazing out into the distance. Many would approach the silhouette and try to get him to join the rest,
but each time, the silhouette would gently place his nose under the chin of the well-meaning friend, give a soft whimper,
and return his gaze to the horizon.

It had always been this way since the Silhouette had come to the Bridge of Rainbows.
Many had come and joined the Silhouette for a time --- understanding why he was there and going through a similar thing,
but eventually each who had come would retreat as silently as they had come.
It was only the Silhouette that remained each and everyday.

Whenever he had finished his rounds, the Bridgekeeper would join the Silhouette.
He would gently put a hand on his head and the Silhouette would put his head in the Bridgekeeper’s lap,
all the while making sure not to block his vigilant watching of the distance.

There was no need for words anymore between the Bridgekeeper and the Silhouette.
The story had been told long ago and now there was only the waiting.
As the Bridgekeeper and the Silhouette sat in silence,
the Bridgekeeper recalled the only time that the animal had spoken to him,
so long ago…..

The Bridgekeeper noticed that the Silhouette had been there for longer than any other had been.
Usually the ones that stood on the Edge of Forever would gaze back only for a short time until they knew their Human was ok.
Some stays were short, some were longer, but eventually the animals would retreat from the Edge,
knowing that their Human would be ok.

And still the Silhouette remained…

One particular night, the Bridgekeeper joined the Silhouette for the first time.
He sat down beside him and put a gentle had upon his back and stroked his fur.
They sat this way for sometime without words, until the Silhouette finally spoke.

“I’ll not leave here, so there is no point in trying to make me go.”
said the Silhouette.

“You may stay here for as long as you wish.” Replied the Bridgekeeper,
all the while stroking the back of the Silhouette.

The Bridgekeeper could feel the heavy muscles on the back of the Silhouette
begin to relax as he continued petting him.

The Silhouette took a quick glance at the Bridgekeeper,
making sure that it was not a trick to get him to leave his post.
After a time, the Silhouette realized that the Bridgekeeper was true to his word
and he spoke…..

“I did not do enough for him while I was there. I should have treated him better,
I should have behaved more – I let him down. I chewed many things I was not supposed to,
I did not always potty in the right place, and I did not listen to him when I should have.
I did so many things that I now regret, but the worse thing I did was I made him make a choice.
I will never forgive myself for doing that to him. I see the sorrow in his eyes,
sorrow that I placed in those eyes. And I never had a chance to show him how much I really love him.”

The Bridgekeeper said nothing as he continued to pet the weary Silhouette
and hoped he would continue talking.

“I watch now as he goes through everyday now, feeling so guilty for his imagined faults.
If only I could have one more moment to tell him how much I love him,
and how much I wish he would not blame himself for what I made him do.
All he ever did was love me. My dish was never empty, my needs were never neglected,
and in the time I needed him the most --- when my mind was no longer my own and when I needed to come here,
I was defiant. I did not come willingly, and so I made him send me.
Oh how much love this man had for me to forget his own pain to do what had to be done!
Oh how bad I was for making him make that choice!! And now I watch and I wait for him to forgive me.”

The Bridgekeeper waited a few moments for the Silhouette to relax again, and then he gently said,
“ Look closer mighty one and look into his heart.
He clings to the sorrow because he thinks he let you down.
He cared not that you chewed the wrong things, or that you dug holes in the yard.
See how he now cherishes the very shoe you chewed, and see how the hole you dug is now surrounded by flowers?
The things you did that you blame yourself for are now the very things he clings to --- so deep is his love for you.”

The Silhouette gave a side-glance to the Bridgekeeper and snorted slightly before replying,
“My life has brought him such sorrow, such grief, and pain.
And all he ever did was love me ---- even his last gesture was the most loving thing he could have done.
I was no longer myself, and I gave him no choice but to make that final choice for me.
And now he blames himself for something he had no other choice but to do.
And so I now watch over him, waiting for him to forgive himself,
for how can he ever forgive me until he forgives himself?”

The Bridgekeeper softly responded, “He does not see it that way. He feels he let you down,
that he could have and should have done more. ”

The Silhouette sighed and continued, “With every breath in his body, he loved me with it.
And I love him more with each breath he takes. I will stay here at my post,
watching and waiting until his heart heals ---- until he realizes that the only thing that ever mattered is the LOVE.
Only when his heart is free will I be able to walk the path next to him,
where I truly belong.”

And with that, the Silhouette spoke no more.
With his eyes looking out towards the distance,
the Silhouette lifted his head and placed it in the lap of the Bridgekeeper,
who held him close and continued to stroke him.

Written on 10-01-04 by SpookyWolfe Dianne

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