He Needed Me

by Miz Nettie

The moment his eyes met mine, I knew he needed me. Through those green windows I could see the doubt and worry that weighed heavily on his heart. I could also see that it was a good, loving heart and so I was horribly disappointed when he walked on by me with barely a glance. I had felt such a positive reaction when I looked into his eyes it was hard to believe that he hadn't felt something in return. I can't begin to describe the sense of relief when he suddenly reappeared and reached out his hand to me. Yes, he needed me and I would not let him down.

He had a strong, no-nonsense grip and he wasn't one for small talk. When he plunked me down on the wrap stand he responded to the clerk's cheerful greeting with a non-committal sort of growl. When the poor girl offered to wrap me up or put a bow around my neck he just grabbed his receipt in one hand and me in the other. Next thing I knew we were out of the gift shop and in an elevator headed for who-knew-where. Standing all alone in the silence of that little room he took a moment to study me as if second-guessing himself. I stared earnestly into his eyes and tried to reassure him in my own silent way; whatever his problem, I was his friend and would help him anyway I could.

We made a stop at another counter where he spoke to a pretty lady with a nasty kind of attitude. She didn't even give me a glance and whatever she said to my new friend upset him something terrible. I thought my stuffing was going to come right out of my ears; he started squeezing me so hard. Finally his hand relaxed and suddenly we were flying down a set of stairs and through another hallway. We came to a stop outside a door and my new friend took a deep breath before pushing it open. He walked in real slow and careful like and I could feel the tension in his hand. This was it. Whatever was in this room, this was why he needed me.

At first I didn't understand what I was seeing. It looked to be just a boy asleep in a bed with a man in a white coat bending over him. But there must have been something special about that boy because my friend was so nervous and excited I could feel sweat from his hand soaking into my fur. He finally settled into a chair next to the bed and then looked down at me with a kind of surprised expression on his face. If I hadn't known better I would have thought he had forgotten all about me but I knew that couldn't be right.

The man in the white coat left and suddenly it was just the sleeping boy, my friend and me. I was a little surprised when he sat me on the pillow next to the boy's head but I decided to go along with it. I still wasn't entirely sure what the problem was but I was good at waiting and figured that things would eventually come clear. I got another surprise when my friend started talking. It took me a minute to realize that he was talking to the boy who was still asleep. I was surprised again when he kept on talking. Hours and hours he talked. He only stopped when someone else came into the room and then as soon as they left he'd start up again. I was really beginning to wonder just what it was I had gotten myself into.

I guess he eventually ran out of things to say because he suddenly stopped talking and stood up. He stretched a little then walked over to the window, a sad slump to his shoulders. I didn't understand. Why did he leave me just sitting on the bed? How could I help him if he didn't hold me? I was starting to feel a little depressed myself and then I noticed that the boy lying next to me was waking up. My friend spoke again then turned around and saw that it wasn't just me listening to him. I'll never forget the look on his face and how much it hurt; I had been wrong. It wasn't me he needed it was the boy.

How could I have made such a mistake? What was I going to do? What could I do? Suddenly I was the one who was filled with doubt and worry. I was the one in desperate need of a friend. And wouldn't you know it? It was at that moment that the boy turned his head and looked me straight in the eyes. And as I looked into those sky blue windows filled with fear and hurt I knew, he needed me.

It wasn't too much later after that both the man and boy fell asleep leaving me to keep watch. Even though I had figured out my place I was still a little worried. I knew what needed to be done but couldn't quite work out how to do it. I was just starting to feel depressed again when I noticed a light touch against my side; so soft and hesitant I might have thought it was my imagination had I not seen those blue eyes looking at me once more. I saw the doubt in the boy's expression and I tried as hard as I could to reassure him. I guess he must have gotten the message because slowly he gathered me in and pressed me tight against his chest. As I lay there listening to the steady beat of his heart I felt a warm sense of relief fill me from my whiskers to my tail. Finally, finally I was where I belonged. Gone were all my own doubts and worries and now I could concentrate on those of my new friend. And I knew from that moment on that we would be together and I would always be there for him, for just as long as he needed me.