A friend very near and dear to me died on New Year's Eve. To be honest her passing will go unnoticed and without mourning. Because of that I have decided to write a bit about her in hopes that my reasons for missing her will be understood by someone. This will undoubtedly waver between prose and verse as well as perspectives, so please bear with me.
I bask in the warmth that seeps into my cold blood and aged body. Four walls have been my world since memory began in me, yet I am fed and content. Curiosity fills me when I taste the Keepers and their outside world. I want to know and explore. I am lethal, deadly to them and to all that annoy me. They fear me, I can taste it rising from their flesh. They are not prey, they give me prey yet still the sourness of fear taints them when they come near. Smaller ones bang and rap upon my walls. Vibration not borne of prey irritates me. Even they taste of fear as they watch me feed. There is one and one alone who has no fear within him at sight of me. He gives me respect in its place. He came to me in my old age and cared for me for a time. He would give me prey with regard for my mood. He removed prey that tempted me not with his hands. Those gentle hands would guide me to one side or move me from my empty water dish. First, he would stroke me as I swallowed my prey. Once he reached for my prey and curious, I went to taste that hand. There was no fear, no quiver of terror, only the taste of love.
Three years after we met, he left me, not without warning and words of goodbye. I have no ears to hear them, but I felt the tremor in his hand with his last caress. I tasted his sadness and the metallic tang of pain. In goodbye and for his care, I kissed his gentle hand one last time. Then he was gone from me.
Who would shed a tear for one such as she?
Caught up in their fear they taunt her instead.
After their abuse I offered safety.
When I found my Muse I knew she was dead.
There is no tribute but the one I write,
For I am not mute and my heart must cry.
I saw her beauty and deadly delight.
This rhyme, my duty, to she who did die,
Breaks my heart in two for I love her still.
Every word is true written through the pain.
Her passing has left a void I must fill,
For I am bereft as my friend lies slain
By the hands of Time though her life was long.
I hope through this rhyme to appease her ghost
For she earned her rest deserving no wrong.
Of friends she was best, I miss her the most.
For those of you who know it not by now, my friend was a Timber Rattlesnake (yes I know, another snake). I have spoken of my bond with the Nature Center's Black Rat Snake, but not of the unique rapport I share with the other reptiles at SNC. I am trying to honor them all in my next prose work. I also ask that those who cannot see a snake as a friend or how I could mourn an animal to try and understand. She died on New Year's Eve and would have been twenty this coming year. She lived twice her natural span.
When I touched her, she felt rough and coarse, unlike any other snake I have handled. She was also intensely curious about everything, acting somewhat like a cat. This ends my first post to Feelings.
Now and forever, my heart hears ~one voice~.
"Either kill me or take me as I am,
because I'll be damned if I ever change..."
Count Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade
(Marquis de Sade)