“Aussie, tell me a story.”

“I don’t tell stories. You tell stories.”

“Don’t dogs tell stories, Auss?”

“Never. We’re too busy living. Too busy eating. Too busy walking. Too busy killing chipmunks.”

“Oh, Aussie.”

“This is the best time to catch them. They’re running everywhere with nuts and acorns in their mouths, which slows them down, see? That’s when I get them.”

“They keep the food in their cheeks to bring home to stockpile for winter, Aussie. Imagine that!”

“Can’t. Why have food in your mouth if you’re not going to eat it?”

“You do the same thing, Auss. You snap your jaws around them and kill them, and then you just leave them on the ground.”

“I let them marinate for a few weeks and then I eat them.”

“You know, Aussie, stories are like that.”

“Like dead chipmunks?”

“Stories have to marinate, too. And then when they’re fully marinated—”

“Somebody eats them?”

“No, I think they fade.”

“Let me get this straight. You make up stories so that they could fade?”

“Not all stories, Aussie, but I think a few need to fade.”

“Humans are crazy.”

“You know, Auss, when I was in Switzerland I thought a lot about Bernie because he and I used to travel there to do many things together. And then I watched this cow.”

“What’s a cow?”

“A big animal that eats grass and makes milk.”

“Is this another one of your stories?”

“Switzerland is known for its cows, Aussie. The head cow walks around with bells, so you hear bells from morning to night.”


“Because she’s the head honcho, see? She wears bells and the rest of the herd follows her.”

“I guess that’s better than having those maniac border collies around, but don’t even think of putting bells around me.”

“I stood on a path and looked down at this field where the cow was eating, and she looked up at me and I looked at her and she looked at me and I looked at her—”

“Would you get to the point!”

“Aussie, I knew I had to let Bernie go.”

“The cow said that?”

“The cow just looked at me. She was like you, just eating, just peeing, just pooping, just jingling those bells. There was nothing extra there, know what I mean?”


“There were no stories there, Auss. I felt I could hear Bernie’s voice.”

“Really? What did he say?”

You need to let me go finally, is what he said, Aussie. Just let me go. You know, Auss, I can still spend time thinking about the two of us together, parsing things out: what worked, what worked less, what he wanted, what I wanted, all the different little dramas we had, the beautiful things, the sad losses, and standing there on that field I heard a voice telling me that it’s time to let all that go. Bernie now has a different journey from mine. He’s no longer mine for caring, for loving, for second-guessing, he’s no longer mine for anything. He’s his own energy now and he has to go wherever that energy leads him, and I must let him do that. He has his path and I have mine. Once the two converged, but no longer.”

“The cow said all that?”

“In a manner of speaking, Auss.”

“That’s some therapist! Does she take insurance?”

“So many of my stories are still centered on Bernie, but they’re fading little by little.”

“And that’s good?”

“With some stories it’s good, Aussie. With some stories, it’s good.”

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