I was looking at the wall of terrariums filled with lizards, iguanas, and other such reptiles. They all seemed tired and depressed, so I flipped the switch that turned on all of their blacklights, causing most of them to scintillate with fluorescent glows surrounded by a purplish light embrace. But the chameleon on the upper rung was still in darkness; one of his two small blacklights had gone out. Moments later, he scurried over to feel the love of the working lamp.
“Well, I guess we need to get that replaced,” Chris said.
He made a phone call and asked about going to the pet store for supplies. A few uncomfortable minutes passed. A uniformed police officer appeared at the door.
“You called for an escort?” he said.
As the three of us walked to the pet store down the street, Chris got on his cellphone and called ahead, asking about a particular blacklight by part number. “Also, one of my lizards had little bugs crawling all over him,” he said. “Any suggestions for what I should get? … No, little tiny ones, like…”
“Like ticks on a rabbit?” I offered.
“Like ticks on a rabbit,” he repeated.
The person on the other end made a few suggestions, Chris occasionally interjecting with an “Mm-hmm” or “I see.”
“Okay, then,” Chris said. “I’m on my way with my wife,” he chuckled, looking at me, and hanging up.
I grumbled. “I wish you wouldn’t call me that.”
He teased my hair. “What should I call you, then?”
“I don’t know… partner? Companion? I still don’t know what we are.”