“Wait here,” Alfred said. “I have something to do way over there. I’ll be back for you.”
Do you promise?
“Yes, of course. I started out with you, so why would I leave you?”
He laughed, took its hand, and kissed it lightly on the tip of its nose.
“Yes, it does, to other blogs. It won’t happen to you.”
Very well, Alfred. I’ll wait here for you.
And Alfred left it, looking plaintively but hopefully at him as he turned to wave goodbye; it gave him a brave, if tremulous smile, and waved half-heartedly, wanting to believe…
And way led on to way, as the poem says.
The blog tried on its own to be good, to be relevant, to be vital and important, to be witty and charming, but without a fresh infusion, its health waned, and the visitors who came to see it didn’t stay long, and soon grew infrequent, and one day, stopped altogether.
The blog tried to be brave, but then a cold fog rolled in; still the blog waited, gathering its thin shawl about its shoulders, and folding its arms for warmth. It worked for awhile, but didn’t last.
By now it was shivering, cold, and hungry for text, but there was no one around.
Alfred was hard at work, loading Christmas packages into trucks, first for fourteen hours, then twelve, and the blog was a vague thought, fast on its way to becoming a distant memory.
Weeks went by, and the blog finally sat down, and began to cry out its heart…
It’s almost Christmas, and he broke his promise. I’m sorry, Alfred, I couldn’t hold them…they left, and now, I’m leaving too…
The blog searched for a way to self-delete, when a voice called from the distance….
And now, before I end it all, the madness comes. I thought I heard his voice.
Again, the voice sounded, echoed, seemed to be closer.
No, thought the blog, no, I dare not hope…
The voice called it by its pet name. “BP!” (an unfortunate choice, given recent events, but there it was…)
Footsteps, running hard, pit-patted on the road as Alfred came into view, anxiously looked for a sign that his blog was still there.
He didn’t see anything. He ran faster, hoping he was not too late.
The blog, rising on thin, shaky legs, used the last of its strength to stand.
It’s voice, cracked and raspy from disuse, was faint, but not gone. Alfred…
Just as Alfred reached it, it sagged into his arms, and he sat down, and laid it gently on his lap. His tears fell copiously onto the page of his abandoned blog, now dirty, dusty, and bleeding from the harm it was about to cause itself. He’d returned just in time.
“BP…” he sobbed.
And the blog reached up a trembling hand, and touched his bearded cheek.
You came back…
“I told you I would.”
But you forgot about me.
The words hurt, all the more so because they were true…
“I did,” Alfred whispered. Shame and sorrow heated his face. “I’m so sorry, BP. We’ve lost so much time. I don’t know if I can ever make it up to you…”
Time lost is…irretrievable, Alfred, but…we can go on….from here. Can you….?
“Yes, yes of course,” Alfred said.
Hands trembling with emotions, he spread his fingers over the warm, familiar QWERTY keys; the relief of finding his blog alive, its forgiveness of his negligence, its still-abiding love for him, shamed him, humbled him, and gladdened him all at once.
And as he typed, the blog sighed in relief, and eagerly drank the text it craved; color returned to its cheeks, and its breathing evened. It was going to take more time, but at least now, there was a beginning.
“I’ll never leave you again, BP” Alfred said.
BP gave him a sad, amused smile, and kissed him lightly on the cheek, beard and all.
At least while you’re alive. Never say never, Alfred.
Alfred smiled back.
Beyond Panic was going to be all right.