"Forgiveness is the final form of love." - Reinhold Niebuhr
We stood there for a moment, just staring at each other. I took in how he looked. His clothes were slightly tattered, one eye was shut slightly, and his fur was a complete mess, matted like crazy. I imagined I must look very similar, except I had cuts all over the place and I had his name cut into my arm. He took one look at me and gasped.
"Kausn, what happened?" He sounded sincere, but I just spat at him.
"You happened. It's because of you I look like this, and I really don't care anymore. You did this to me." I gestured to my arm, revealing his name that was bloodily carved into my arm. He looked noticeably shocked, and his expression was a mix of sympathy and sadness.
"Kausn, I'm sorry. I didn't know things would go this far. I didn't know you'd resort to this when I left. I figured you'd just......move on."
"MOVE ON?!? HOW CAN I FUCKING MOVE ON IF I STILL LOVE YOU?!? YOU THINK IT'S THAT EASY? I'VE BEAT MYSELF UP OVER YOU LEAVING, AND I KNOW IT WAS MY FAULT! YOU DON'T HAVE TO COME IN HERE AND RUB IT IN MY FACE!!!!" I was panting when I finished, the fur on the back of my neck sticking up, and my tail thrashing back and forth. Seigi was on the verge of tears, but he was trying to control his emotions, with no use.
"Kausn, I know I was wrong. You're not the reason I left you, I'm the reason. I wasn't sure if I still loved you, but when I left, I wanted you more. Alex just used me; he beat me Kausn. You have no idea how terrible I feel right now."
"No, I do have an idea. I feel the EXACT same way! I've beat myself up everyday since Christmas, and I almost killed myself Seigi. I've cut myself every night, starved myself everyday, and I was the reason you left me. When you left, you took away my will to live. And I'm glad Alex beat you. You deserve worse." Seigi gasped, and then he started to cry.
"I know I deserve worse, but will you please help me. I'm trying to be sincere here. I want you back, Kausn."
"OH, SO THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE?! IM JUST SOMEONE TO FALL BACK ON, IS THAT IT? WHEN YOUR NEW FUCKBUDDY REJECTS YOU, YOU COME BACK TO YOUR OLD ONE, AND EXPECT COMPLETE FORGIVENESS?!?" I was furious at him right now, but my love for him was still there. I couldn't stand seeing him crying like this, but I knew that he deserved it. It still didn't make it right. I was so confused. Part of me wanted to slap him and kick him out right on the spot, but the stronger part of me wanted to hug him, hold him, and tell him everything will be alright. Right now, the loving side of me was pushing against its barriers, wanting desperately to escape.
"Kausn..................I don't want forgiveness, I just want a second chance. I want to show you I can love you right." I scoffed.
"If you could love me right, you wouldn't have even considered leaving me. Now, get out." He looked slightly shocked at my answer.
"What happened to the strong, loving, confident Husky that I knew and fell in love with?" He asked between sobs.
"HE DIED WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP! WE ARE DONE SEIGI. I LOVE YOU, BUT GOD DAMNIT, I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE! I WANT YOU OUT OF MY FUCKING LIFE!"
"Kausn, listen to me. You need to stop beating yourself up over this. It. Is. Not. Your. Fault. Do you understand me Kausn? You need to stop with all this self loathing and get over it. If you'll let me, I'll help you."
"And why the fuck would you want to help me?"
"Because I care about you Kausn. I'm still in love with you, and you still love me. Why can't we work this out?" I sighed. He was right, or course, but I didn't want to accept it. I wanted to get back to what I was doing, getting rid of the emotional pain by causing physical pain.
"Seigi, you ask why we can't work this out, but you already know why. Look at us, look at what our relationship did to us." With my paw, I gestured toward my arm and his body.
"This was what being apart did to us. If we were together, this wouldn't have happened. Please, at least let me stay the night with you." His eyes pleaded with me, but right now, my soul was cold and impenetrable.
"No. Now let me get back to what I was doing before, and that was trying to forget about you." With that, I grabbed him by the shirt collar, lifting him up and dragging him to the door. He stayed limp the entire time, accepting defeat. I dragged him to the door, and using all my strength, I threw him out of the suite. I saw him lying there utterly defeated, and for a brief moment, I felt sorry for him. That brief moment for pity passed, and I slammed the door, locking it as I walked back over to the couch, sitting down. I heard whimpering at the door, but I ignored it. After a while, the whimpering stopped, and I heard footsteps walking away. It was about that point that the realization crashed down on me. He was completely right. Everything he said was true. I'm killing myself over this, and so is he. I wasn't doing myself and favors, cutting myself and starving myself. I really did need to get over this self-loathing shit. Sure, I was depressed, but that didn't mean I had to kill myself over it. I rummaged through my stuff, finding a sweatshirt and throwing it on. I left the suite, exiting the hotel and started walking towards the nearest bar. I needed something to do to get my mind off of Seigi. When I walked into the bar, I was greeted with the smell of beer and other Furs. I walked up to the bar and sat down, ignoring everything around me. All the people socializing, all the Furs having a good time just made me feel worse. I just wanted to get my drinks in and leave. Soon a bartender came up to me, and I ordered a Budweiser. I got it and gulped it down, not enjoying the bitter taste, but knowing that it would help. After about my fourth bottle, I started feeling a little bit better. I wasn't thinking about Seigi for the first time in days, and in truth, I was starting to feel happier. Soon I was out there, mingling with just about everyone in the bar. Quite a few recognized me; a few even asked me for my autograph. When I was finally done with the bar, I stumbled out of it, heading for the hotel. When I reached my room, I felt like I was going to collapse. When I got into the suite, I collapsed on the couch and blacked out.
Every night for the next few weeks, I went to the bar. Every night, I would forget about Seigi, forget about everything but that moment. I always downed enough alcohol to be angry the next morning, but it was worth it. I never went to bed feeling lonely, never kept up by the tormenting thought that I could have done something different to keep Seigi around. Those thoughts came during the day time, but I dealt with them the same way I dealt with them before. I replaced the emotional pain with physical pain. I didn't feel that my life was spiraling downward, I felt the exact opposite. I was the happiest I had been since Seigi left. Maybe I wasn't the most social during the day, but when I got alcohol in me, I was the life of the party. I arranged with Mr. Wolfe to have all my stuff moved from the previous apartment I had to this hotel suite, where I would be staying indefinitely. Some people would say that moving away from home to a new state would be hard, but I felt like it was a fresh start. Besides, I had no one left in Michigan who loved me anyway. I had all the people I needed right here, all of whom were fans of mine. Everyone I met at the bar had either heard of me, or was a fan. I had no idea just how many fans I had, and I was glad that someone finally decided to side with me. I made it look so easy, able to go out every night and enjoy myself, but it started to get harder after a while. Seigi crept into my mind sometimes, and it killed my mood. It didn't last long though, because if I thought of him at the bar, I drank his memory away, and if I thought about him at home, I would cut myself until his memory drowned in my own pain. It was a foolproof plan. So I thought. The month of January past in a blur of blood and alcohol, not that I minded though. The more I drank or the more I cut, the less time I had to think of Seigi. It made me feel happy. At least I had been able to forget about the wolf. Mr. Wolfe called me one particular night, and it was a conversation I will not soon forget.
My phone rang and I stumbled to answer it, wanting to get back to forgetting Seigi. I had left my left forearm untouched since I first cut his name into it, and fur was now starting to grow back, but it left a red patch that spelled Seigi as the blood stained my fur. I had finally took to eating again, but if I was going to the bar, I would just retch it up so I would have more room for alcohol, thus having more fun. My personal hygiene had gotten better, but I still looked like a wreck. My eyes had lost all of their previous life, and my headfur and tail tip was now an ugly grey. I was stick thin, nothing but fur and bones. I didn't mind my appearance, and I even thought that it suited me well. It signified a new, great life away from Seigi, at least in my mind. I stumbled over to my cell, picking it up and flipping it open.
"Kausn, its Mr. Wolfe. We need to talk."
"Ok, what do you want to talk about?"
"You Kausn. Are you ok?" I was taken aback a little by the question.
"What do you mean? I'm fine."
"Are you Kausn? I've had reports of you getting excessively drunk almost every night, and some people have even reported seeing cuts all over your arms. Plus, you are stick thin; you look like you haven't been eating. You really need to get help. I know you're upset about Seigi........" I growled at the name, cutting him off in mid-sentence. After my growl subsided, he continued, more persistent than ever.
"Kausn, you need help. You're killing yourself over the breakup. If you keep doing this, you're going to end up disappointing someone, or you'll end up dead."
"I won't disappoint anyone but Seigi. He wants me back, and I won't accept him."
"WHAT ABOUT YOU'RE FANS KAUSN? What would they think, their favorite singer becoming anorexic, bulimic, an alcoholic, and to top it all off, cuts himself? You're going to let a lot of people down Kausn. You need to straighten your life out." He practically shouted the first part, but he wasn't mad. He was just trying to get his point across, and he was somewhat successful.
"I don't need your pity, Mr. Wolfe. My life is fine right now. Good day."
"Kausn, wait............." I hung up before I heard anymore. For a moment, everything was quiet, before my phone rang once again. I picked up and growled into it.
"Kausn, don't hang up on me like that. It's not polite. Anyway, you have less than 15 days until Daytona, so I want you to come to our offices and rehearse with the band. Please, all we need is two songs, and then we can work on the national anthem. Please, just cooperate." Something in my mind told me I needed to do this, so I sighed, accepting defeat.
"I'll be there in ten minutes." I hung up and grabbed a sweatshirt, throwing it over my head before walking out the door. I got down to the street, and I work my way through the bitter February air and the crowded New York streets. When I finally got to my destination, I was chilled to the bone and I had made many people irritated by running into them. I climbed the stairs to the 14th floor, where Wolfe Records was located. When I got up there, I went straight to the rehearsal space, finding everyone there waiting for me. I put on a smile as I walked in, but neither Mr. Wolfe nor my band bought it. Mr. Wolfe was the first to speak, and by the tone of his voice, I could tell he was concerned.
"Kausn, you really need to stop trying to fake being happy about your life. You need to get help." My smile instantly vanished, and turned into something of a snarl.
"My life is perfectly fine right now. I don't need help." He sighed, not wanting to press the issue further. "Fine, you win. Right now, we need to decide two songs. Do you want to do the single you had with Seigi, or do you want to just do covers?" I thought for a moment, really unsure. Answer Me was the first, and seemingly last, single that Seigi and I had put it. It pained me to think about him not doing it with me, but I didn't really have any other options.
"I'll do Answer Me. It hurts, but I think I'll live. Maybe." The last part I whispered under my breath, but Mr. Wolfe eyed me like he caught it, but chose not to bring it up.
"Fantastic! So, what other song do you want to do?" The song came out before I even had time to think about it.
"Easy, by Rascal Flatts." It was the story of my fucking life. Lately, it had been getting harder to pull myself off the couch or out of my bed to go out every night. When I was out, I put a smile on my muzzle, and acted like I was having a great time, but in reality I was dying a little inside. I couldn't deny my love for my wolf anymore. I needed him, but I pushed him away. It was my fault that I didn't have him anymore.
"Interesting choice. Well, let's run through Answer Me, and I'll see if I can find someone to sing Easy with you. I might be able to pull a few strings and get Natasha Beddingfield, but we'll have to see. So, I want you to run Answer Me while I go make a few phone calls, and then I'll come back and see if we can learn Easy. Good luck." He left the space a short time later, leaving me alone with my band. I looked around at them, all of their faces telling me something. The message was clear; "Get your act together. We're all concerned for you." I looked down at the ground and spoke, but my voice was no louder than a whisper.
"I know you all care, but I'm handling this in the way I see fit. It may not be the best way, but it works. Let's just focus on music right now." I heard a couple of people mumble, and one even scoffed, but they all kept their comments to themselves. Except for my lead guitarist. The German Shepherd spoke up, and his tone was not angry, but it was full of concern.
"Kausn, you need to stop this. We've all seen what this relationship has done to you. It's toxic. You're a mess without him, and we all feel for you. You need to get back together with him. It's the best thing to do." I looked at him, and dumbfound expression on my face.
"Do you really think it's that easy? To just forgive him for what he did? HE FUCKING LEFT ME WHEN WE WERE ENGAGED! How can I forgive him for that?!" My voice cracked on the last word. My emotions were running high, but I wasn't angry. In fact, I was just a little scared, because I knew he was right. I just didn't want to accept it.
"Just find it in yourself. I know it's in there. Somewhere, deep down, that kind, loving Husky that we all knew and fell in love with is desperately trying to get out. Let him out of his cage." I scoffed.
"He died with the end of my relationship. I have no compassion for anyone anymore. Now, let's just get to fucking work and get this over with." I walked over to the microphone, taking my place next to it. I turned around, but no one had moved. The Shepherd stood there, arms crossed and shaking his head.
"And here I thought I respected you Kausn. You were one of the few Furs in my life that I actually looked up to. I was a FAN of you, Kausn! I looked up to you, respected you. Now, I don't even know why." He spat, and threw his guitar to the ground. He looked into my eyes, triggering something deep down in the dark depths of my soul. "You are a pussy Kausn. Running away from your problems isn't going to solve anything. Man up. Make people want to be around you, make them want to look up to you. Keep acting like this, and you'll be yesterday's news. No one will want to be around you anymore." Something he said really hit home to me. I felt like a complete asshole, treating my band and my fans like this. I couldn't hold back anymore. I slumped against the wall and started to cry. Thoughts filled my mind; thoughts of Seigi, thoughts of my fans, thoughts of how bad my life had become. I sat and cried for what must have been twenty minutes, my emotions getting the better of me. I knew my life was spiraling out of control, but I didn't realize it would push away the one thing I had left; my fans. When my tears finally subsided, I looked up to see my entire band crowded around me, their facing showing compassion. They knew that I had just realized what was really going on. I got up and brushed my fur off, looking back up at them. I spoke, my voice weak.
"I can't believe I just realized how bad my life has gotten. It spiraled out of control, and it took me losing the respect of a band member and a fan to make me realize this. Thank you." I directed the last part at the Shepherd, who seemed glad that he had finally made a breakthrough. I continued to talk. "Something has to give. I can't continue to live like this. I'm sorry about the way I acted to you guys, and I hope you still want to play music with me." I smiled weakly, and was greeted with grins from everyone, even the Shepherd. I walked back over to the mic, and everyone else took their places. We ran Answer Me twice, though I couldn't help but feel odd singing it without Seigi. When we were done with our second take, Mr. Wolfe walked in, grinning from ear to ear.
"Well, I'm glad we were actually practicing in here. Kausn, I got someone to sing with you, but it's going to be a surprise. I know you'll love it. Anyway, I heard about your breakthrough Kausn, and I really want you to get help. Please, do it for your fans. Anyway, that's a wrap for you Kausn, you are free to leave. Tomorrow, I want you back to we can run Easy. Have a good day Kausn." He seemed eager to get me to leave, and I threw a questioning glance back at him, but he just brushed it off. I left the building feeling satisfied that I had accomplished my goals for today, but feeling terrible as I finally realized where my life was headed. I had to do something about it. I had to act before it was too late.
I got to my hotel suite and started cleaning up the mess that was my life. I cleaned the entire bathroom, throwing out my razor blade in the process. I picked up my collar from where it sat from Christmas Day, which was a little over a month ago. I placed it on the kitchen counter, moving to clear that off. I cleaned the entire kitchen, pulling the knife out of the wall and throwing it out the same way I had the razor blade. I cleaned the entire suite, riding it of all of toxins that tied to my life before the intervention. I finally sat down, satisfied with all of the cleaning I had done. There was nothing that reminded me of the dark days that had been the month of February. I sighed, finally being content for the first time in over a month. It had been hard, getting out every night, getting drunk, relying on alcohol for my happiness. It had been even harder waking up every morning, hung-over and hating myself. I looked at the name scrawled on my arm, and it took my back. Not just to the days of depression, but it took me back to all of the good times I'd had with Seigi. As I sit there remembering, I knew that I was going to be alright. I was still depressed, but it wasn't to the point that it was becoming life threatening. I just had one last thing to take care of. I picked up my cell phone, scrolling through the contacts. I found the name I was looking for and pressed send, hoping that the number was still the same. After three rings, and flat, defeated sounding voice came over the line.
"Hello?" The voice sounded so depressed, so dead, that I thought I was going to cry. I held in my emotions, speaking in a hushed tone. I had rehearsed these words while I was waiting for the other line to answer, but nothing prepared me for the real thing. I took a deep breath and spoke in a hushed tone, as if I wanted to keep this a secret.
"Seigi, I was wrong. I want you back."