I Am Greg by Özgür Uyanık (Lucent Dreaming Issue 9)

I remember some things
I am happy to not remember everything
My name is Greg
I remember her name too
she is my mother
I call her Mother
I say, “it’s me Mother, Greg,” but it doesn’t come out right
she pats me on the head and puts the leash on.

Suddenly, in the street, she gives me a hug and cries into my fur
I know why she is crying and I try saying, “Mother—it’s me, don’t worry, everything is going to be fine”
but it comes out all wrong, like a long whining sound and small yelp
the more I cannot say the words the more I lose them
she smiles at me a sad smile and I can smell her tears like big bursts of salty fireworks.

The walk is very good today
I am getting used to walking like this, down low
the smell of everything!
smells are making me dizzy but not as much as yesterday
yesterday I almost fainted with all the smells
and the noises!
it’s such a noisy place and my ears are always twitching at each new sound
so many different sounds of different shades like the colours I used to be able to see
there are things I don’t understand
like what the dogs are saying when they are barking (even though I can sense very strongly that they are saying something very important)
I have trouble when we sniff each other as we pass
it’s a way to say, “hello and who are you?” but I don’t understand what the smells are telling me—there are too many of them and it’s confusing, like reading when all the letters are jumbled up
ah! the Chinese is opening, I can smell the vegetable smell and the sauce—what was it called—that sauce they use?
I was thinking that I like Chinese a lot but now I am not so sure—it’s too much somehow
the brown leaves up against the metal post there smell interesting and I want to pee on the leaves and so I do
I don’t know why
something that smells of lots of fat and very salty and very, very good is hiding behind this big window here
Mother does not want to go in there and she pulls the leash to make me stop
I don’t stop because it’s very urgent that I go inside and ask someone for some food
she pulls really hard on my neck and I have to follow her
I plan to complain to her about how she is treating me as soon as I can sort out how to do it.

In the park I paw at the soil at the edge of the grass, trying to remember how to write some words—I want to make a complaint for Mother to see
I want to tell her that we need to sort out this mess
I want to tell her that something very strange happened in the night
the problem is that I don’t remember how to write
she throws the ball away again and I take a break from the pawing and go to get it for her
it feels good this, running fast
when I run back to her with the ball in my mouth there is a man standing next to her
a stranger
she seems happy to have the ball back and says that I am a good boy
now this man is putting his hands all over me and I don’t like it—who is this man?
I sniff him for clues but there is nothing I recognise and I want him to stop squashing my head in his big hands so I sort of grumble at him loudly and he stops smiling and stands up
he askes Mother if I bite
as if!
Mother is not having this man say silly things about me and she pulls us away.

I am excited to be back in the house because it’s my house and I am thirsty
I drink from the bowl that belongs to Max
poor Max
I run upstairs to my room and look inside
there he is and he looks very sad today
lying there, curled up on the floor by the bed
he has pulled some of his clothes off—well, my clothes to be exact
and it smells
he has peed on the carpet
I tell Max to get up but it comes out all wrong again even though I am trying very hard to be exact with the sounds I make
Mother comes in with the things that clean and the really smelly stuff from the white bottle that makes my nose hurt
I don’t remember the name of it
I leap on to my bed and start shouting at Mother that Max needs help to get up
she tells me to shut up, calling me Max
I shout back saying “no! Greg! Greg!” then I stop shouting because she is busy helping Max to stand up but he can’t do the standing up properly
he goes down to the ground again so I jump down to join him and he puts his nose to my face and sniffs it
out of politeness I turn around so he can smell exactly who I am
Mother pushes me away very hard so that a whimper comes out of me
Max makes barking noises at her then
he is angry about something
Mother is really upset now
I shout at Max to stop and tell him, “you’re upsetting her!”
he doesn’t listen and keeps barking until Mother is very upset and sort of folds herself up and makes a huge hurting noise that makes me and Max go very still and quiet
Mother is cleaning the carpet now
Max sits in the corner on his bottom and his tongue is hanging out
I look at his face and he looks at me all empty inside and I wish I could talk to him about how all of this happened
how I wished for it but now I am not so sure
she is stepping out of the door now
we wait for it
the miracle
because there has to be a way
this can’t be
the end.

Buy issue 9 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram
His debut novel CONCEPTION was published in 2020 by Fairlight Books, England, and will be launched in the US this summer. He is a contributing co-editor for an anthology by under-represented writers, JUST SO YOU KNOW—ESSAYS OF EXPERIENCE (Parthian Books, Wales). His feature films in development include HOLY MEN, a supernatural horror, supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales and BFI Networks. He is a PhD candidate in Creative & Critical Writing at Cardiff University.

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