It is getting harder for her to hear me.
Sometimes I shout and roar with all my might, just so Rebecca will pay attention. I stamp my hooves and clap my great woolly paws together. I dance and caper and throw petals from magnificent flowers that only bloom in the light of midnight moonlight when the parents have forbidden you to play in the garden at night and you sneak out anyway.
When Rebecca was born, she was a tiny little thing. She could not speak yet, but she could see me.
The parents brought her home, all smiles and exhaustion and Mylar balloons. They brought her to her room, which looked very different then. There were bright colors on the walls. There was a mobile with unicorns. There was a crib.
The parents put her down in the crib and tucked her so she would not roll. They are good parents, although they have often forbid Rebecca and myself many fun adventures.
Rebecca looked up and saw me standing behind them, with my woolly fur and horns and spots.
She smiled and her parents cooed.
When Rebecca began to toddle, she always paid attention. She followed me around the little circles I made in the playpen, dragging my big claws for her to chase and squeal at. When she grew out of the playpen, she began to chase me.
I let her, because that is what real friends do.
Sometimes Rebecca hears, sometimes she does not.
She has always been a big talker. I let her do most of the speaking for the two of us, because the parents cannot hear me and I do not want to talk to anyone else.
So she would talk and tell stories and then we would adventuring a’go, we two friends in the fields beyond which we know.
Rebecca told me how she was a princess, and then she was a princess.
I was the scary monster who held Princess Rebecca in the fearsome tower of evil, which was also the apple tree in the backyard. I was the handsome furry knight who rescued her from the train track. I was the diner in her imaginary restaurant, the special guest at her tea party, the client in her hair salon.
It was all games. I always knew that.
But things changed when she knew it too.
When Rebecca got taller, I began to get smaller.
She is so tall now, and I have grown so small, she cannot even see me anymore.
Sometimes Rebecca hears and does not listen.
She is sitting in front of the vanity mirror in her room, not listening. The room is painted black now, and there are no unicorns.
She is waiting for her friends, her new friends, to come and get her and take her someplace else, someplace far from here.
She is not listening to me.
She is leaving.
I sit on the bed behind her and try to speak. I talk about the playtimes, about how she used to tug on my fur and pretend to have a horn of her own. I talk about the thousand mile journeys we had in the front yard. I talk about how she is a princess and always will be.
I tell her goodbye.
Nathan is an editor with Asymmetry Fiction.