The gun was cold in my mouth, I blinked and looked across the table at my shadow sulking and mimicking my sad state. We had a good run, but now it was time to end it. I was about to pull the trigger but then my shadow did something unexpected. It put down its shadowy gun in front of me and crossed its arms. “No”, it seemed to murmur in my head.
A little taken back by the situation, I gargled back an answer with cold steel in my mouth, “What, what do you mean no?"
Its dark eyes greeted me, “I mean no, after all this, this is how you try to treat me.” It took me a moment rather shocked that in my last moments my shadow had decided to show its intellect.
“So what is it then… what do you want?” I asked the shadow sunken into the chair across from me. I took the gun out of my mouth and set it down on the table beside me.
The silhouette tilted its head toward me, “It’s not a question of what I want, rather of recognition. When is the last time you thanked your shadow for being there for you, have I not served you most diligently? And then you make me put a gun in my mouth?”
I didn't really know how to answer the shadow’s question of self-worth, it had never dawned on me that a shadow might want some merit for its deeds that I had taken for granted.
I tried to respond but couldn't grasp a good answer, “I’m sorry, I didn't know it hurt your feelings, I was only thinking about myself.”
The shadow seemed to darken as it responded “I’ve seen what hurts your feelings, I’ve been there when you cried, sat beside you so that you were not alone. I was with you when you were born, laughed, and loved. I’ve followed your every moment up until this point. Yet for all that, you have given me nothing. I am your closest friend, yet where has that gotten me, except a bullet in the mouth?”
I guess I never had stopped to think about my shadow, but why should I. It is a shadows job to follow, “Why is it that no other shadows have ever complained to their owners? Throughout all of history, I have never heard of such a thing.”
“You may be right, but not even a shadow wants to die. Plus who would believe you if you said your shadow talked?” The shadow did have a point. “I guess I spoke out because you are feeling alone, and you are not. I saw you with the gun in your mouth and I didn't want you to end things because you thought you had no friends. I am your friend and will always be there for you; whatever you do I will be there to follow you.” The shadow gave me a sad look, “It’s up to you, but you are never alone. I want you to know that.” Then after those words in a dark flash the shadow was back to perfectly mirroring my movements.
Had it all been a dream? I looked at the gun in front of me and thought about it, maybe I did have a friend that loved me and was always with me. The shadow was the one person in my life who had never betrayed me and no matter what I did would do it to. The thought of that made me smile. It didn't really matter if the shadow had spoken at all. I waved at my shadow and it waved back at me. I stood up and my shadow stood next to me. Then as I walked away, I knew I would always have a friend, because my shadow would be right beside me walking too.