“I think we need to talk”, Max said.

I stared at him momentarily, then shook my head in disbelief. “I need some sleep”, I muttered to myself. Clearly the lack of sleep from the last few nights was starting to take its toll on me. I rubbed my eyes, stood up, and started towards my bedroom.

“Can I come?” Max asked. I didn’t even turn around this time, I knew it was my tired brain playing tricks on me. He followed me, even though I didn’t answer him.

I brushed my teeth and got changed, by the time I got to bed Max was already snuggled down. I thought no more about it and went to bed, asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

I woke up the next morning as I always do, to the sound of the dogs tail wagging in the doorway. I felt relaxed and rejuvenated. I glanced at the clock on the bedside table as I hauled myself upright. Eleven hours sleep! I must have needed that. I stretched myself out and got up, the dog getting more and more excited with each movement towards his breakfast.

“Wee-wees first?” I asked him.

“Yes please”, he replied.

I stopped walking and stared at him. He stared at me. I was dumbfounded. Was I still asleep? Was this a dream? It must be...dogs can’t talk!

“Sorry,” he said, “I know this is a bit strange for you, but I really do need a wee. Can you open the door, please?”

“Erm, yeah...sorry,” I managed to stutter out, as my body switched to autopilot and opened the back door for him.

As I stood watching my boy in the back garden, my mind was in overdrive. ‘This cannot be happening’, I thought to myself, ‘dogs can’t talk. Max is thirteen now, he’s getting on in years...if he’s been able to speak all this time why has he chosen to start now?’ I caught myself on this last question and shook my head. ‘HE CAN’T TALK’, I told myself firmly.

I couldn’t explain it. I must be losing my mind. My thoughts were interrupted then by Max calling through the door, “can you let me back in, please?”

Again, my body was doing it before I’d had a chance to think about it. Max trotted into the kitchen and looked expectantly at his bowl. I wasn’t keeping up with my half of the morning routine. I grabbed his kibble from the cupboard and poured a cup into his bowl.

“You and I need words after breakfast”, I said to him as I placed the bowl on the ground. He plunged himself towards the dog food as if he hadn’t been fed in years. ‘At least some things don’t change’ I thought, then strangely ‘he didn’t say thankyou’.

I made myself a cup of tea and watched the dog wolfing down his kibble. Once finished he moved his head immediately to the water bowl. He then sat on his haunches and looked at me, water and saliva dribbling from his greying muzzle.

“Well,” he said, “I suppose we had better talk about this.”

I stared for a moment, my brain unable to comprehend how my dog was talking to me in a human voice. A friendly sounding voice. Very different to the voice I’d imagined for him over the years.

“How long have you been able to speak?” I asked him, wondering to myself if I was talking to a hallucination.

“Since yesterday morning,” he replied, looking a little sheepish, “I don’t know how or why it happened. I tried to bark at that stinky ginger cat from across the road, but instead...I just said ‘bark’. It was a bit embarrassing really, I’m sure that cat was laughing at me!”

Despite the utter confusion and bewilderment I was feeling, I laughed. I sat on the floor in front of him and kissed his nose, as I had been doing for nearly thirteen years. “My poor baby,” I said with a smile, “I’ll get the cat with the hose later”.

He leaned forward and rested his head on my shoulder. “You’re the best” he breathed into my ear, which unfortunately wafted towards my face…

“OH MY GOD!” I exclaimed, clapping my hands to my face, “I’m sorry to ruin the moment, but you’ve got devil's breath!!”

“Oh, thanks very much,” he replied huffily, starting to stand up.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” I claimed, although it was hard to hide my smile. I’ve always wanted to be able to chat to my dog, I might as well try and enjoy this.

We chatted all morning. It was the most wonderful, but strangest morning of my life. Finally getting to ask my best friend all the things I’ve ever wanted to know about him, his favourite flavour of kibble, where he likes to go for a walk the most, and why he always growls at that one particular postman. Max asked me all the things he wanted to know. We talked about all our favourite memories. It was incredible finally getting to share all these things with my best friend.

After talking for a few hours Max announced that he was tired and plodded off to my room for a nap. I went to make myself another cup of tea and began to process my thoughts. I had just spent the morning engaged in conversation with my four legged friend. I suddenly wondered if this was happening elsewhere. Were other dogs able to talk, or was it just Max?

I abandoned my cup of tea, half made, and stalked over to my desk and opened my laptop. Surely if this was happening elsewhere someone would have posted it online by now? I opened facebook first, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. I tried twitter next, nothing there either. Nothing on any of the news pages I checked either. I was beginning to doubt myself again. Maybe I shouldn’t have shrugged this off.

Then it clicked. I had wished for this. I had forgotten, because I say the words “I wish” an innumerable amount of times everyday. The memory seemed to slip back into place as I glanced towards my most recently finished painting. I had been working on it when I made my wish.

I have a habit of talking while I paint. I don’t know why, but I always have. Usually to inanimate objects or animals, but I will talk to a person in a pinch.

I had been talking to Max while I worked as I often did, but for some reason this time I wanted a conversation rather than just a one sided monologue. So there I was, painting and talking away and I just so happened to say “I wish you’d answer me once in a while”. I didn’t even think about it, I just said it. I’ve said “I wish” so many times in my life, why did this one come true?

I shook my head to clear it. I considered my options, either I was going mad or I had had a wish granted. I pushed my fingers into my temples and allowed my hands to take the weight of my head for a moment. “Doesn’t believing it was a wish make me mad anyway?” I asked myself, out loud.

Max padded back into the living room then and sat down in the doorway. I looked up as I heard the click of his nails on the wooden floor. I looked hard at him. He looked back at me silently for a long time. ‘Did I imagine it all?’ I asked myself.

“What are you doing?” He asked me.

‘Guess not,’ I thought. “Seeing if I could find any explanation for this”, I answered, gesturing towards him.

“Look, I lied before,” he answered, walking towards me. He sat by my knee and put his head in my lap, looking up at me with somber brown eyes. “I do know why I can talk,” he continued, “it started yesterday morning and it will end this evening.”

“But why?” I asked him, stroking his greying face.

“I made a wish that you could understand me,” he explained, “apparently you made the same wish at the same time, so it came true.”

I gaped at him stupidly.

“It’s a shame we didn’t both wish to win the lottery,” I joked.

Who would have thought it? An offhand wish in amongst the many I make every day got granted because my dog made the same wish. No one would have thought it. I must be going mad.

‘Who cares,’ I decided once and for all, ‘if I am going mad and this is the only symptom, then who cares! If it gets worse, I’ll see my GP.’ With that decided I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.

“Walkies?” I asked the dog, he jumped up and ran to the door, tail wagging so fast I thought he might take off.

I spent the rest of the day chatting away to my dog. After my decision to accept that Max and I could talk today, I felt much better. He told me he was going to stop talking this evening anyway, so if it continued after that I would worry. I had decided to enjoy my Sunday. After taking Max for a run around his favourite woods we returned home and shared some lunch. He was overjoyed that I allowed him to have some chicken, thanking me through the mouthfuls. He then had a kip whilst I began a new painting, which I became lost in for hours.

Noticing the time, I realised we had both missed dinner, it was nearly ten o’clock! I wandered into the kitchen thinking about what to have. I opened a tin of what I now knew was Max’s favourite flavour chum, and plopped it into his bowl. I placed the bowl on the floor and called him in, surprised he hadn’t come running at the sound of the tin opening.

Even now, he didn’t come running. He plodded slowly in with his head hung low and his tail between his legs.

“What’s up, pup?” I asked him.

He looked at me and whined.

“What's the matter?” I inquired again.

He barked, looking at me morosely. Then it clicked. He wasn’t answering me, he was barking at me.

“It’s gone?” I asked, knowing the answer.

He barked again. I sat on the floor and allowed him to come and sit on my lap. I kissed him on the nose and stroked his ears.

“It’s alright”, I told him, “eat your dinner.” I kissed his head and stood up, suddenly feeling drained. I decided to skip dinner and began getting ready for bed.

Once again, by the time I wandered from the bathroom to the bedroom, Max was already snuggled up on my bed. I climbed in beside him and kissed him on the nose.

“Goodnight pup,” I muttered as I drifted off to sleep, wishing once more that he could answer me. Just for one more day….

Written by nlpwriting
Image source: Unsplash

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