The Full Monty

There’s an elderly French couple living in my building I’ve come to know.

They walk arm in arm, taking the air, moored happily in each other’s longtime company.

I love how they look, elegantly plain without fuss, his white hair kept slightly long, combed back with a perfect part. Hers, a matching shade just gracing her shoulders, a glimpse of her femme fatale at rest, more than gone.

They have no children, except for Montague, their  Maltese, they treat like a son who walks nobly beside them fully aware of his importance as the second male of the family.

Seeming ageless, I was surprised to hear Monty developed arthritis in his back legs and couldn’t walk, now being pushed in a pram, pharaoh style so he can peer out on their strolls.

After just seeing him in his navy-striped turtleneck, as regal as ever, I was shocked learning he had died of a sudden seizure.

With my arms filled with early lilac, I made a condolence call.

The Missus solemnly answered, no lights on except for a candle where Monty’s ashes sat in a pewter urn, with his picture next to it.

“Where’s your husband,” I asked, since, I’ve never seen one without the other.

She started to cry. “My Augustin won’t eat, won’t sleep. His heart, it is broken. He won’t even weep…he sits like a statue. I am so worried for him.”

I asked if I could see him. She nodded, leading me to their bedroom where he indeed sat, motionless by the window.

“It’s your neighbor,” I said softy, still not sure what I would say, but then, words came.

“I’m so sorry. I know how much you loved him. I loved him too,” I said, our grief entwined. “I remember the first day we met…when I asked to pet Montague, you said no, he might bite a stranger? But after sniffing me all over, he licked my hand as if to say, the girl’s alright. Do you remember that?”

He turned and said, “I do. He liked you right away.”

Then his wife, watching from the doorway said, “It’s why we too liked you right away. Montague…he was our protector.”

“And you his,” I said, “and he’d want to know, the two people he loved most would be okay even without him. He was such a happy dog, and so lucky to be so loved.”

The silence in the room made me think my attempt had failed, but when I turned to go, the husband said, “Please, we will walk you to the door.”

He embraced his wife tenderly, wiping a tear rolling down her cheek, then took my hand, kissing it like the true Frenchman that he is, as I, alas, took my leave with love and loss in place of lilac.

Hope, however, rode in on her steed because…

Three days later, there they were arm and arm, taking the air, moored happily, once again, in each other’s longtime company.

I’m pretty sure I heard Monty bark, in approval.     images.jpeg




About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in animals, grace, humanity, humor, inspiration, Love, New York City, words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to The Full Monty

  1. Kate Howell says:

    So sweet😎

    ~Hal Rubenstein From my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. How touching! You are an angel, saying just the right thing to the grieving couple. You are such a blessing to many, many people. When I get the tears out of my eyes, I’ll read it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We know when someone is kind hearted and good. Our instincts tell us. Montague will be watching over his parents, and they know in their hearts that he is now at peace and free from pain. Maybe that is one of the reasons why people grieve for us. We seek so little from humans. Touch, kindness, friendship and a safe place to live. And food of course, thats extremely important.

    When we go, we may go from sight but never from your hearts. We remain there forever and actually take a small piece of your heart with us.

    Thank you for being kind and thoughtful to your neighbours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How can one not be? You’re all so noble and loyal, and unconditional love, let’s face it, is pretty hard to find. WOOF WOOF WOOF… I’m playing the Dog’s version of TAPS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that is the key. We don’t ask for anything more than we would ask of ourselves. We are attached to humans because, essentially, most humans are kind. We don’t judge anything other than an ear tickle, a belly rub and somewhere warm to sleep. Humans are invariably here for our lives and that is important. We only get one go at this life lark so we, as dogs, are determined to make the best of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You live in the moment, which is why you’re such noble role models, reminding us to do the same. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Oh Susannah, this is one of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read. You are such a tender soul. I never know the right thing to say unless I’m writing.
    Pookie and I were both up all night to welcome are newest grandson, Zayne, into the world. He is my oldest daughter’s first child. Both mom and child are doing great. She and her honey were gracious enough to let me help with the birthing. What a miracle to behold!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vasca says:

    Aw Susannah, beautifully written. Michael and I did as that couple…walked arm in arm w/our two dogs…Fancy, a little American Eskimo and Dani Girl…a Husky with one bright blue eye and one dark. They were glamorous and so well behaved. Sadly, Michael is gone along w/the two beauties. I miss that trio…oh how I miss them. Thanks for the beautiful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Clever Girl says:

    I’m not crying… you are.
    Okay, I’m crying

    Liked by 1 person

  7. aFrankAngle says:

    Well done, Suzannah! … well done.

    PS: I had to stop by to say hi!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your words are a reminder that we all can share a tender moment with one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So nice, what you said! It’s wonderful to know the help you were in getting them started back to a semblance of normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorryless says:

    I’m all weepy, but in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dale says:

    I somehow missed this post. So very glad I came back. Such a touching story and I am so glad for the couple that you seemed to come by at the right time to snap Augustin out of it.


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