I’ve grown indifferent to the screaming. Somehow I learned to tune it out. If I hadn’t, I would have lost my mind ages ago.


At times I ask myself, “What have I done?” I think about how life could have been easier if I’d just stayed the course and resisted certain… urges.

I used to go to work, grab a beer with my friends, and stay out late. Now, there are days when I can barely leave home. It’s like I’m trapped here with this insane monster I’ve created.

When I look in the mirror, I see the effects the stress has had. My hair sloughs off in clumps. My eyes have dark bags under them. I’ve gained twenty pounds.

I remind myself I didn’t have to go down this road. It was a choice. I own that. There’s no escaping what I’ve become. And there’s no hiding it either. He has my DNA all over him.


Sometimes I look at him, and I come back to myself. Why would I want to escape this? This is my everything now—my whole world. Sometimes I can’t resist him. I see that innocent look in his eyes and I can’t help but wrap my arms around him and squeeze.


On the subject of escaping… yesterday, he tried. He wriggled free from his restraints at the table. He ran for the makeshift fence I had erected at the top of the stairs. I guess it wasn’t as secure as I thought it was. He broke free, and then there was the door, vulnerable, with only the deadbolt on the inside.

He made it halfway down the driveway before I caught him. His legs flailed as I lifted him off the ground. “LET ME GO! LET ME GO!” he wailed fruitlessly, pounding me on the side of the head with all his might.

I worried his carrying-on would draw unwanted attention from the neighbors. What would they make of this scene? Would they start to worry about me? Would they call the cops? I brought him inside by force, dropped him on the floor, and locked the deadbolt. “Don’t you ever do that again. Something bad could have happened,” I admonished him sternly.

I peeked through the curtains. No sign of any neighbors. That was a close one. Too close. I carried him up the stairs, his body limp, his face red. He inhaled great gulps of air between his sobs.

Note to self: order a new combo lock for the door.


This evening, he refused to eat. He poked at the meat on his plate, wearing a look of great disgust.

“Just try it,” I encouraged him. I had put real effort into this meal. “Just one little teensy-weensy bite.”

He declined. Worse, after a few more minutes of failed negotiating, he seized the plate and hurled it onto the floor. It made an incredible mess.

I’m not sure what he thought this would accomplish, and I admit, I’m starting to get tired of all of these games.


Today, I had no choice but to go to the store. After last night’s dinner fiasco, I was running low on rubber gloves, garbage bags, and bleach. I swear, I feel like I’m constantly cleaning. It’s Sisyphean. Still, I can’t have my place always looking like a crime scene.

But what to do about my little buddy? I thought about paying some poor sap to watch him for an hour or two, but I wasn’t sure who I could trust, so in the end, I brought him along.

I opened his door in the parking lot and we locked eyes.

“Remember what we talked about before?” I asked him. “If you’re on your best behavior and don’t make any kind of fuss, I’ll have a very special treat for you later. Got it?”

He gave me serious look, nodded his assent, and relaxed his limbs while I removed the straps holding him in place.

To my great surprise, it went fine. In and out without issue.


I don’t know what happened tonight, but maybe I’m not as immune to the screaming as I thought.

We were just playing around. I was having a good time. Honestly, I thought he was, too.

But things took a swift and unexpected turn. Suddenly, he was on the floor writhing, howling, shrieking—as if he was in the worst pain of his life.

The sound triggered something primal in me. I had to make it stop. I pleaded with him. I offered him food, water. But there was nothing for it.

It got physical: kicking, punching, objects thrown. I took a deep breath. I accepted he was simply too far gone.

I hate that the night ended like that. But it was time at last. Time for him to sleep.