By A.J. Llewellyn
Some years ago, I was languishing in a three-story Victorian terrace house in London. I was home alone in sub-zero temperatures, my three flatmates all out on dates. I was so poor I didn't even have 10p for the gas meter, so I sat huddled in blankets listening to Michael Franks.
There was a line in one of his songs I have never forgotten. You could say it's become my motto, the theme of all my books:
Loneliness makes you strong. Love makes you free.
I never will forget how I felt during that year in London, the lessons I learned, the strength I developed, the friendships that continue.
So when I read the story yesterday about Emily Mabu, the 29 year old woman who married her dog, I felt, unlike many who mocked her, deep anguish that her loneliness is so acute, she has no trust in humans.
Emily, who lives in Aburi, Ghana, married her 18 month old pug in a ceremony boycotted by her family. Her brother David described it as "a stupid step to combat her loneliness."
Maybe, maybe not.
I have no idea what the wedding night was like and I really, truly don't want to know. I am betting however that this new husband won't be getting on the Internet anytime soon to download porn or chat up hookers.
On the downside, he won't take out the garbage, or cook much of a meal...but I know very few human men who do this either.
He won't do much but give her unconditional love.
If she were a member of my family, I would have attended the service, then quietly worked out ways to keep her busy and social. I would also find her a good therapist.
I am an animal lover and I've seem how much pressure other friends of mine put on their pets. Their loneliness is so strong, it created undue pressure on them
Emily is an extreme case. How sad it is that she is so dependent on a small dog.
We have become a species of increasingly isolated, fearful people who seek solace in those who won't hurt us. I feel for Emily because she is fumbling in the darkness toward freedom...yes, she's taken a wrong turn but in the dark, most of us can't see.
The beauty of being married to her dog is that if a divorce ensues, she can keep him and they can still be friends...more than friends.
He probably won't go after her money or her best friend...unless a meaty bone is involved.
I hope he teaches her that it's okay to love, that her loneliness has made her strong and his love can set her free.