Mina lay next to me, still and unresponsive. She had been this way for about a month now and I was concerned, very concerned. She looked listless, my childhood friend, my constant companion;I didn’t remember her ever being more than a few feet away.

I remember her always sitting next to me, at my feet, as I worked on my homework or trying to playfully trip me up during my trips back from the kitchen, especially when I had a full glass of milk or juice in my hand. She loved lapping up the spills.

As I grew up I started experimenting with the type of music that would define me and set me apart from my teenage peers, I noticed Mina’s enchantment and entrancement with the loud and heavy bass thump of my music. She helped me define myself with her endorsement of Ozzy, or perhaps she just liked watching him bite off the head of a rat during his famous performance; a man after her own heart.

In our thirteen years together she had always been by my side, seeing me through every rite of passage, every youthful misadventure. I could always come home and confide in her, whisper my secrets to her as she listened patiently and non-judgmentally.

I had been upset with her at times, like the time a few years ago when Rebecca had come over to our place for a sleepover. She brought her pet hamster Hannah with her. Rebecca was never seen without Hannah the hamster, just as I was seldom seen without my Mina.

The Rebecca that left my home the next morning wore a tear stained face and bloodshot, puffy eyes, from crying. Hannah the hamster was gone, vanished without a trace.

We looked all over, under the couches, in closets, in every nook and cranny but Hannah was nowhere to be found. Then I spotted her little cage behind a couch. Hannah wasn’t in it. I escorted Rebecca home; she lived across the street from me.

When I returned I walked straight up to Mina asking her to look me in the eye and confess, I noted Hannah’s brown and white fur wispily coating Mina’s mouth. I punished her, told her she wouldn’t be allowed to leave her enclosure for a week. I am certain she rewarded me with a loud burp that followed her silent and defiant stare.

I remember her peeking out, pleading an early release until I let her out again with a silent nod to food chains, nature and the occasional craving for dessert. After all Rebecca was happy again with her new rodent-Rodin and I was determined to keep Rodin as far away from Mina as possible.

I chuckled now as I flashed back to that memory.

In two months I would be in college and I was worried. I wasn’t sure the dorm would allow exotic pet companions. I wasn’t sure I could handle being without Mina, the world just wouldn’t make much sense without her.

Perhaps she sensed my agitation, could that be the reason why she showed such despondence? She hadn’t touched her food in days. I watched her sleeping next to me. I had taken her on long walks, had tried to cheer her up, telling her I would find a way, trying to reassure her that we would never be apart. I think she answered me with a possessive squeeze, curling herself tighter around my shoulders as I patted her and muttered sweet nothings such as, “There, there…attagirl…it’s going to be alright, trust me”.

But her condition only worsened, she was looking pale and weak. I decided to take her to the vet. My parents came with me. We sat in the waiting room as the doctor examined her. When he came back the look on his face told me that the news wasn’t going to be good. He wore a frown as he strode toward us. I tried to brace myself for the worst but the worst I could possibly have imagined wasn’t as bad as what he told us then.

He told us that Mina had to go, that we had to give her away to a zoo, or a reptile farm where she could live well, that it was the safest alternative. I remember asking him why it suddenly wasn’t safe for Mina to live in our home.

He looked at me funny then and after a few moments looked at my parents as he told them that our home was safe for Mina but it wasn’t going to be a safe home for us if Mina was in it. He believed that Mina had been preparing herself for the big meal.

Mina, my red tailed boa, was taken to the reptile farm and imprisoned in a cage for the rest of her life.

She had been deliberately starving herself for a month and had taken to stretching her eight feet length next to my five every night for the last few weeks.

What was a comfort for me was actually a strategic move on her part, the strategy that would have resulted in us being together, forever, as I became a part of her.

[Loosely based on a true story]


  1. Gosh!you had me there. I thought Mina was a cat…and it turned into a Boa. That was scary and very well written. However cant help thinking that arent many a friend we hold so dear also behave in this manner behind our backs? Why isnt there a zoo or cage for them too?

  2. good one!

  3. hfffff…scary but vey well written !!

  4. Yeeg! You successfully gave me the willies. I don't think I will sleep well tonight after reading this.

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