GRAND MAL PRACTICE

This morning I looked out and saw Stanley walking around the back.

Yesterday he had two grand mal seizures, one in early morning, waking me up, and one later in the afternoon. He dropped to his side, legs flapping wildly, teeth clenched, body jerking furiously, foam dripping from his mouth.

The seizures themselves didn’t take long, but the aftermath was tough. He went blind for close to an hour, running manically around the house and crashing into things. Even after I leashed him and his eyesight returned, and after I took him outside where he could run more freely on the grass, he kept on hyperventilating, wobbling and stumbling, opting to go into bushes and mounds of woodchips, running frantically round and round, unable to stop. He ran me ragged. Luckily, our friend Genro had come for the weekend and was able to help.

Overnight I slept pretty well on the living room sofa to keep Stanley company, and in the morning watched him walk around from tree to tree. “Saying goodbye to your empire?” I asked. “You still haven’t told me what I should do with your cache of buried bones after you go, Stan.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry. Speaking of which, couldn’t you have given me a better dinner last night, especially since I didn’t eat much yesterday?”

“You mean, for your last supper, Stan?”

“Steak!”

We argued a bit, then went off for a walk.

“You know, Stanley, you might be saying good-bye to the horses.”

“What horses?”

“Stan, we’ve been walking to give apples to the horses for over a year now, and from the beginning you’ve refused to admit you see horses. I think it’s because they’re so big they scare you, so you deny they’re there.”

“What horses?”

“Stanley, you’re approaching the end of your life. I have no idea what the vet will say this afternoon.”

“The House of Horrors! I knew you were planning my execution!”

“Maybe she’ll give you pills against convulsions, maybe you have brain tumors, anything can happen. The point is, Stanley, isn’t it time to stop denying things? Stop denying relationships, the depth of connection, fear, sadness, joy, the whole kit and caboodle. We spend our entire life in denial. Stop denying, Stanley!”

“What horses?”

“Oh, what’s the use? Anyway, you still haven’t told me what it’s like to have a grand mal seizure. You’ve had three by now!”

“I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”

“You mean, you went unconscious, Stanley?”

“Mind just dropped away.”

“Wow, Stanley, you know how many years we practice to achieve that?”

“Didn’t take me long.”

“Should I try it?”

“No.”