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The Furever Friend

Ayush and Ayesha have been married for two years now. Ayush is a struggling artist who spends the entire day either looking for inspiration or painting. Ayesha was a teacher at a primary school and a keen supporter of Ayush’s art. They were a loving couple. Ayush would do the house chores while Ayesha was a teacher in primary school and she would always attend all the art exhibitions Ayush could find. They would spend the weekend together, exploring new things. They believed that the activities made their relationship strong.   

In the summer of 2015, they decided to visit a dog park of their mutual friend Misha. Both of them liked animals but never spent time with a pet. The park was a beautiful place where different breeds of dog would play. There was a small for dogs in the centre of the park. Ayush and Ayesha had a great time playing with the pups and dogs over there. They started visiting the dog park every Sunday at 4 p.m. regularly.

“Ayesha. You know, the other day when we visited Misha’s park, Ghost kept running behind me until I took him in my arms”, said Ayush.

Ghost? Ayesha asked with a confused look on her face.

“Ghost, the new pup. Two months old German Shepherd. Remember?” Ayush gave the description.

“Oh! Yes, yes. So, what about him?”

“Umm, I was thinking let’s adopt a dog na.”

“Ayush!! Are you serious?” She had stopped folding the clothes and gave a stern look to Ayush.

“Yeah. If we have a dog around, it will be fun. Anyway, we are going to the park every weekend.” He tried convincing her.

“We can’t afford a dog now. I am already working extra hours. How will we pay the vaccination and food bill? No Ayush, not happening. She declared and started walking towards the kitchen”, Ayesha tries to reason with him.

Ayush follows her and continues to convince her.

“I am working hard for this next exhibition. I am sure it is going to change my career. Please, Ayesha. You love cuddling with dogs, don’t you? You can take him for walks, and I will clean his place. I promise. Please. He makes a puppy face”, and Ayesha gives in.

“Remember this promise, okay?”

“Yes.” Ayush hugs her tightly.

“Let’s get dog food and a latch. We are getting Ghost this week.” Ayush jumps with excitement.

“Are we going to call him Ghost?”, Ayesha questions, with her left eyebrow raised.

Yeah! Remember Jon Snow’s dire wolf.

We will have a grand welcome for Ghost. Ayesha joins Ayush’s excitement.

The next weekend Ghost entered their lives. Everything was perfect. Ghost was their baby, and they took tender care of him. They played together and went on walks with Ghost. He had brought Ayush and Ayesha closer than before.   

However, things changed on the eve of 9 April 2017. Ghost lay on Ayesha’s lap; it seemed as he lost weight. They were sitting in the lobby of Dr Ram’s office when they received the worst news of their life. Ghost was diagnosed with Alimentary lymphoma for three weeks. Ayesha slowly rubbed Ghost’s body while the doctor informed them about surgery. Ayesha and Ayush left the doctor’s office with tears in their eyes. Ghost was weeping too. He could feel his family’s pain.

Later that night, they all skipped the meal and their usual routine. Ayesha and Ayush were alone in the hall with a movie playing on the TV, but none of them paid attention to that.

“Ayush, what will we do? I don’t want to let go of Ghost, but we can’t afford this surgery. We can’t keep him at home with such a severe disease.”

“Ayesha! He is a part of our family. We can’t abandon him.”

“How will we pay for the treatment? I am bearing the weight of your hobbies.” Ayesha said in a low yet stern voice.

Ayush was perplexed.

She was looking straight into his eyes. “Ever since I have married you, I have tried my best to support you. But I can’t go on like this. We are giving Ghost to someone who can take care of him. I love Ghost, but I also want the best for him.”

Ayush was numb, and he knew that they could not give him the treatment. He nodded twice and walked towards the bedroom with his head down.

One week later, Ayesha and Ayush gave Ghost to an NGO. They felt assured that it was the best place for Ghost. Ayush couldn’t look at Ghost. He was not ready for the farewell. Ayesha entered the NGO and filled all the details while Ghost sat quietly next to her. She hugged him and in a sobbing voice leaned to his ear -‘ I am sorry I have to let you go. I love you. Get well soon. Bye.’

After that, Ayush and Ayesha weren’t the same. They barely exchanged words. Weekends were either spent in arguments or having a separate night out with their friends. 

 20 February 2020, Ayush just got out of the cafe when it started raining. He was waiting for his cab when suddenly he heard a dog’s bark close to him. When he turned, he was amazed to find a white, healthy German Shepherd trying to get away from his master and come closer to Ayush. He couldn’t believe his eyes; it was Ghost!! Ghost had recognized him. He walked towards Ghost, and he instantly licked Ayush’s face. The bond remained the same. Ayush started crying like a baby in the middle of the road. He couldn’t accept Ghost’s love after what he did to him. Ghost licked away his tears too. Ayush laughed and played with him until the man holding Ghost’s latch spoke to Ayush. 

“Hey!! I have never seen Cookie so happy. He has stayed with us for six months now, but he never bonded with us. Do you know him?”

“He is my Ghost.” Ayush wiped his tears and introduced him. They went inside the cafe, and Ayush explained the master everything. He told him that he wanted to take back Ghost with him and he would pay any price for that. However, the other man happily said, “I think you are the best for Ghost’s happiness. I have never seen him so playful. He should stay with you.”

Ayush took back Ghost happily. They went to their home, and things had changed now. As soon as Ghost entered the house, he kept barking as if he was waiting for someone else to welcome him. Ayush bent down and said “She is not here. She left me last year, only because I didn’t earn enough. You know, it’s funny that I created the best painting only after our divorce. So now it’s only you and me. I never expected her to leave. I let you go for her, and you came back. I am Sorry Ghost.”

He went to the kitchen and got some food for him and ate his food.

“So where are we going today? Misha’s dog park?”

Ghost barked cheerfully. He also knew that he was in the best place.

-Harsh Mehta


Published by Utkarshini Journal

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