Copyright is held by the author.
THE POTION maker leaned back in her easy chair and took a long drink from her flask. “Another Valentine’s Day in the books. That makes 49. One more to go, and then I’m done. No more love potions. No more pills. I’m too tired. Too old. Well, too everything. Let the fools find love on their own. We’re wasting our time, Arnold. What do they do with their newfound love?”
The potion maker’s cat, Arnold, an old, orange, male tabby, leaped into her lap and settled within her great folds of fat. They piss it away, Arnold thought. Cheating. Lying. Neglect. Humans: Can’t trust them. Too selfish for love. Too big to eat.
The potion maker took another drink. “Find them the perfect mate and they grow bored. They want spice. Adventure. They want walks on the beach, but then they complain about the weather.”
The cat purred. Every year it’s the same, he thought. The same rant. The same complaints. The cat did not mind. When upset, the old girl generated heat like a blacksmith’s furnace. Arnold sank lower into the potion maker’s flesh. Over the years, the potion maker had doubled in size. Stress eating. Loneliness. Sadly, her potions did not work in her favour.
The potion maker sighed. “I should have studied dragon slaying — fewer aggravations and complaints.” The sentence came out as one long slur, but Arnold understood the gist.
It’s the nature of reality, thought Arnold. Entropy rules. Systems fail. Stars emerge in fire and then cool and die or explode into glory. Someday the universe will collapse in on itself. Unimaginable death and sorrow. Perhaps it already has. Perhaps this universe, this version filled with boundless love and endless heartbreak, is the result. Why should love be any different? When love dies, it’s not a tragedy but an opportunity for another love to grow — a greater love. Maybe that’s the reason we love at all — the eternal evolution toward the perfect love. More purring: The cat marvelled at his wit.
The potion maker scratched under Arnold’s chin. “I envy you, my love. Why are you so content? Is it because you will never know heartbreak? You’re fed, fat and happy. What more could you desire?”
The cat dug his claws into the potion maker’s flesh.
“Hey!” exclaimed the potion maker. “What’s that for?”
For your lack of imagination, Arnold thought, and for neutering me.