It's been seven days since he fell on the floor, lifeless. He haunted every minute of my day, every dream of my night. It's not easy to let go when you've been with him for 12 long years. I still remember the first day I saw him; when he walked towards me in measured, uncertain steps. I had watched him with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. It hadn't taken us a long to strike a bond. I had walked with him from that day on.

I walked around the garden, trying hard to distract my heart from the painful memories. I tried to see around me, absorb the white freshness of the hibiscus blossoms, only to remember the way he used to touch those flowers with love. I walked on the well-worn pebble path, only to remember him chasing me around in those wonderful days of the past.

I finished my walk and reached the wooden swing in my portico. Sitting there I let the breeze gently ruffle my clothes, imagining the way he ruffled it when we played. I stared at the pillar where he used to wait for me when I came back home from work. I could still see him standing there, with the expression of longing and love. Hot tears glided down my cheeks. I let it flow, knowing I could not stop it for long. I must let it out, sooner or later.

I swayed in the swing, rewinding back to the many wonderful days, I had spent in silence sitting there with him. I looked at the gate seeing the lonely board tied to the black iron grills. Its blue hue blurred and wavered with between my tears. I tried to walk to towards the gate, but my legs refused to budge. After few minutes or hours, God knows how long, I reached my gate. I touched the little blue card and my dam shattered into a million pieces.

I started re-living the last day with him. The doctor had said, he was beyond the point of saving. It was time to say good-bye; there was no next time.

I remembered the way he had slept in my lap those last couple of hours. I thought of the way he held my hands while he calmly waited for death to claim him. I relived the moment his body gave a convulsive shudder as he breathed his last. Tears choked my breath. I knew it was time to let go.

I untied the loop of wire that held the board on the gate. I glided my finger one last time through the cursive, engraved silver wordings. "Beware of our beloved Steph"; a drop of my tear fell near his glazed brown eyes that stared back at me from the card. It started rolling down, like a tear from his eyes. It wrenched my heart.

I wiped away the drop of tear off his printed face. He looked back at me with the same laugh, with his tongue lolling out. "I'll remember you this way!" I said to him, "My dark little, lazy scoundrel" He seemed to smile.

I walked back to the garden and placed the card amongst the plush hibiscus blossoms. I turned back one last time to see him. He smiled back at me through the flowers, feeling content.