How a Pet Rat Saved Me From Loneliness
I fell in love with Martin that first night, when he sniffed me, decided I was trustworthy, and took a nap curled up in my shirt pocket. The next few days passed in a bewildering haze. I'd never taken care of another creature before, and being in charge of someone else's well-being—even a rodent's—was revelatory.
Martin grew up big and boisterous, and I learned the timbre and tone of his different squeaks. He learned his name was Martin and came when I called. When he grew too big to sleep in my pocket, he slept in my palms. I was so humbled by his trust, I'd just sit there and hold him. Martin (like most of his kind) didn't live for more than a few years, but I loved that snake food so much, I forgot to self-destruct. Since I met him, I've never been able to find my way back to those pits of impossible sadness. And it's all because Martin loved me, too.