I panted heavily as I reached the summit of the hill. The atmospheric tension bore down upon me as I looked down at the jagged rocks and smiled. They would soon be my last stop.
My cancer was killing me, albeit slowly. I wasn’t going to die the way it wanted me to- slowly, suffering in agony, begging for death, relief and mercy every step of the way.
Ever since I had lost Simba, it was as if I had lost the will to live. This hill held so many of our memories.
Dogs only recognise pack leaders. This was where I had subdued Simba when he tried to dominate me. I had grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pinned him down till he submitted willingly and accepted me as the pack leader.
I had led the pack of two faithfully and he had been a loyal supporter and follower till death did us apart. Today, I was standing at the doors of death, ready to fling myself off this hill and smilingly accept the reality which would only be delayed.
Before I could jump though, I remembered Simba’s expression of admiration and his absolute trust in my bravery, his disdain for cowardice and his respect for courage. That was when it hit me that by committing suicide I was running away. Running away meant that I was a coward.
I couldn’t be a coward. As a pack leader, I simply couldn’t afford cowardice. I had to lead and leaders had no option but to be brave and inspire their followers. Simba had placed his faith in me and I couldn’t break it by submitting to cowardice.
I backed away from the edge, sighing heavily. Once a pack leader, always a pack leader. Nobody told me what a tough job it was- to honour the memories of the dead.