Short Story

A Loyal friend

  • There was a destitute residing in the hamlet of affluent people. He was in his 30's, but because of his frail ailment he looked more like a 60 year old crippled man. With no specific shelter, and no money in hands he was a wanderer searching his own destiny. With no idea of future and no regrets of past he was on adventure everyday to hunt for bread and a feet of place to spend night sleeping. It was just a pair of broken slippers in his feet which was useful for walking during day and a cushioned pillow during night. His clothes were worn out at different places...with visible signs of patchwork from old rags. The tarpaulin which he used to carry in his cloth bag, to cover himself from chilled mornings was among his belongings.


    Secluded himself from society, he was a nomad with uneven beard and bruised skin. He was a man without any companion since his childhood.

    One fine night after collecting food from the nearest church he was searching for a place to sit and eat peacefully. He tried to settle down at some places but the utterly stingy people of that hamlet didnt let him settle near their houses as they find it disparaging about their honour and status. People in that hamlet often talk bad about those who keep relations with any destitute.


    Unfortunately carrying luke warm food wrapped in newspaper he reached near a wooden bench which was sighting vacant from the back distance. His face bloomed with happiness as he thought finally he will be able enjoy his lavishing dinner, but as soon as he reached near the bench it was already occupied by a black dog.

    That dog was half slept almost growling, and he had occupied that bench as he is the sole owner of that place. The man thought he will shoo away that dog, then will have his dinner and after that he will sleep there only. The man cried "shoo" for 3 to 4 times but the dog didnt responded. Finally getting rid of the sounds he was making he thought of gesturing of pelting stone on him and maybe afraid of getting hit he will ran away.

    So the man picked up the stone from the ground and gestured like throwing it towards the dog. Still the dog didnt react. It seemed to be tougher than it actually was. The man finally lost his patience and threw that stone towards him, but ultimately it worsen the situation as dog stood up on the bench and began growling and barking loud. The sound of his barking was easily audible in gloomy dark night mixed with the hooting of owls. The dog was standing fierce with his fur raising straight in anger. The man and dog were both staring in each others eyes and no one was ready to give up. The man was obstinate of occupying that bench where else dog wasn’t ready to let go off that bench easily.


    After a minutes of hustle bustle man sat down on the ground tired, at a distance. Where else the dog settled down on the bench closing his eyes. The man slowly begins opening the paper and took out his food to eat. The aroma of the dinner took no time to catch dog's attention as he slowly opened his eye lids. His eyes watering and voice dull he was hungry too. He jumped down from the bench and begun observing that man from distance, sometimes putting his tongue out and sometimes wagging his tail. The man observed him as he stood up and slowly moved towards him. He was more careful about getting bitten by him. He was wondering how an animal changed his behaviour and on the contrary if he would be a human he will give more importance to his ego rather than asking for food. From a distance of few feet he threw one chapati of two from his dinner to him. The dog took no time to jump towards the roti and begin eating it. The man was wondering how someone could be so innocent who few minutes back was fighting and growling and now has cease-fire.


    After finishing off with their meals, the dog slowly went on the bench and sat down. This time he sat into the corner and kept some space on the bench. Watching this gesture the man moved towards the bench and slowly sat down but still more conscious of getting bitten. Finally after a few minutes the man's pulses got normal and he relaxed.The dog slowly moved towards the man, hugged him and licked his face as they both slept.


    The man belonging to human species and he was thinking in an orthodox way. He was wondering the animal which was violent few minutes back has turned so peaceful now. It was against the human behaviourafterall. He was brooding how a single piece of roti can turn someones life upside down. In the society of humans he has finally met a human, who was different in physical appearance than others. Were others really human??


    Days went on passing as their companionship began getting stronger and he thought that he finally got a partner for lifetime. Everytime the man fetch food for him he ate half and keeps half for his partner. Whereas, the dog on the other hand keeps his share by not allowing any other people to settle on the bench. And whenever they're together specially during dinner time they used to eat together under the dim street light.


    But by having a companion comes with the responsibility along and to serve those responsibilities they need materialistic things that is money.

    The dog being older in his days had entered last phase where he had stopped eating and slowly his health was degrading. The man couldnt bear the sight as he took him in his arms and with a hope in his heart he took him to the doctor for medical treatment.


    In the society of well dressed people along with their pets, he was alone in worn out clothes standing with his stray dog in his arm in the hospital. The dog had almost closed his eyes but despite of his numerous requests he wasnt allowed to get in. "It is just a stray dog you filthy man" everyone screamed. Waiting for the time when he will get in it took him hours to get in. The doctor observed him from tip to toe and asked him "do you have money to give my fee?". Utmost the strangest question ever asked by any doctor, which was completely reversed of "what happened to the patient?" which doctors normally ask. The man sadly put his head down and turned his face in a NO. The doctor fired him telling he will not touch his dog unless and until he will pay him his fee. The man being desperate told him that he will do whatever the doctor will tell him to do. With greed and conceit in his mind the doctor got agreed on this condition. He told man that he has to clean his hospital as the maid was absent today. After mentioning his condition he stood up to look after that dog. As he touched him his face turned white. The dog was already dead.


    Days passed by and the man begin working just to make some money so that no other dog dies like his. He lost his companion and once again he got all alone in this so called human society. What is the need of clean clothes when you have a dirty soul?

    Every night he sleeps on that bench keeping aside half meal as a share of his partner. And miraculously everyday in the morning that meal gets disappeared maybe eaten by someone else. Every night he closes his eyes thinking that nothing lasts forever, nothing remains the same. It's just the memories that always remain constant.

    - Asim Turak