Sylvester gazed out through the glass with mild curiosity. They were at it again – the two older ones. He had observed this behaviour too many times now to gain any level of genuine excitement from the current display of heated interaction. Sometimes he heard their voices billowing out from other areas of the house, which admittedly tweaked his interest, because he wasn’t afforded the luxury of being able to watch them. He liked to play a game when he found himself in such a scenario, whereby he would create a story of their movements and facial expressions in his mind, that matched the words they uttered. He played director and cinematographer on occasions such as those.
But they didn’t occur very often, as the hallway where he resided did seem to be the most popular place selected for their altercations. Sylvester had also noted that these battles tended to happen more frequently when it was dark for some reason, after the little humans had retired for the evening. It sort of made sense to Sylvester, for he felt some strange gut instinct that these engagements should not involve the smaller residents of 41 Close Avenue. He wasn’t quite sure why he felt that way. Maybe it was something about the way the older people physically handled each-other, or the way their faces took on different personas as the altercation heightened. Sylvester felt oddly protective of the little ones.
At the present hour, Sylvester stared vacantly at the man and woman, as they stood facing one another, the man moving his hands a lot while he demanded an explanation for something. Well, he wasn’t going to get anywhere with that attitude, though Sylvester, as he simultaneously yawned and began to swish his fins slower. Perhaps he should just retire to his sleeping frond.
He was about to do just that when the volume of the argument dramatically increased. He spun his head back around to study the expression of the female. For really, if he was honest, he found her far more fascinating then the man – the man tended to be more predictable, whereas the woman was sometimes able to throw curve-balls of extreme interest. Sylvester studied her face. She had her brow furrowed and her eyes narrowed. She had also placed her hands on her hips and had moved closer to the man. Sylvester weighed up whether this change of tone was significant enough to warrant his continued interest. The woman let her hands drop to her sides and shrugged as she turned away from the man. Right, that’s enough for me, thought Sylvester decidedly, as he turned his back on the unforgivably monotonous event that was sure to unfold.
He listlessly swam in the direction of his favourite sleeping frond, wondering if his level of amusement would ever be increased in this kind of environment. It had been months of the same shit now. And Sylvester was growing bored of it if he was honest. He swished his fins angrily as he nestled into a comfortable position, a quarter way up the length of his frond. How dare they? If they were going to imprison him here the least they could do was make an effort to ensure it remained a tad bit interesting for him.
He closed his huge eyes with irritation bordering on outright frustration. It annoyed him that it would be difficult to sleep due to the increasing volume of the humans. As he had predicted, they were now yelling animatedly. Sylvester hoped that it would reach the stage where the man yelled with all his might, because then the woman would eventually give up and storm off. Sylvester was shuffling his body about in an effort to get comfortable enough to endure what could be an hour long wait, when he suddenly realised the shouting had ceased. Well, that was odd. He opened one eye in curiosity. Yes, they had both stopped shouting altogether. What the hell was going on? It hadn’t even gotten to finger jabbing of chests yet, so this abrupt ceasefire was unheard of. Sylvester opened his other eye to study their faces. Immediately his interest peaked. The woman had a look he had seen before – it was that odd haunted look. But the man … he was wearing an expression Sylvester was not at all familiar with. His eyes had begun to water up and seemed brighter, yet tight with pain. Sylvester had only ever seen an expression similar to it on the woman. All thought of sleep eradicated, Sylvester eagerly swum to the edge of his tank in an effort to get as close as possible.
Through the barrier of the water he was immersed in, the words, ‘Do you still love me?’ reached him. He saw them breathed out of the man’s mouth. Sylvester cocked his body to one side with extreme interest. After the words had been given to the night, the water in the man’s eyes began to spill out and roll down the surface of his face. Sylvester was utterly transfixed. The man seemed to be waiting for, and fearing, the answer to his question, as he stared at the woman. Sylvester shifted his gaze to her. She ran her hand down her face and then held it over her mouth, as she slowly shook her head. Her eyes had also misted up with that watery substance, which for some reason all humans seemed determined to keep inside them.
Sylvester saw her fingers drop slightly from her face, as the water began to run from her eyes, and the words, ‘No, I’m so sorry,’ echoed from her trembling lips.
Oh shit! Thought Sylvester wildly – throw a curve-ball why don’t you?! In all the other times he had witnessed such a serious altercation there had never been a moment like this. They always got angry and yelled, and sometimes even pushed each-other around, but then they would leave it, and the next day they were back to niceties and cuddles. In fact he had heard them say what appeared to be those three critical words to one another countless times, often straight after a battle. The man had never questioned her love for him before. Sylvester watched him brace the wall in an effort to remain upright as he took the bullet of her succinct answer.
For the first time in his short existence, Sylvester wished he had the ability to exit his tank and physically touch a human. He didn’t quite understand why, but he felt a strange desire to comfort the man, as he watched him break from reaching the end of the saga he had been living. Sylvester felt helpless. He was witnessing a depth of emotion in the man that he didn’t know was there. As the woman covered her face and exited out of sight, Sylvester’s eyes remained fixated on the man, as his body seemingly lost its strength and slid sickeningly down the wall. For the first time in his life, Sylvester felt the acute restraint of his position, as he realised that he had just been privy to the undoing of a human soul.
This post was inspired by the word prompt ‘SAGA‘ at The Daily Post.