In my mind, they wander off someplace strange and feel scared, and I wish I could keep them safe with me until the very last moment.
But they will travel for a bit, sleep in Rockford one night, sleep in Chicago another, until they finally board a plane to California. From there, I don’t know what will happen. My heart feels heavy. I hold them and surround them with my love; imagine warm light encompassing them and protecting them always.
My friend says they look so at home here. I agree. Maybe they’re the kind that can make anyplace a home? I hope that’s true.
I didn’t think I’d grow so attached. I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to get the hang of them and I found myself loving them instead. Isn’t that the way it always goes though?
I will miss the way Hades greets me from the top of the stairs
when I come home. I will miss Lelu’s good morning ‘meows’ and little grey wet nose. With their absence, the apartment will grow sterile again.
The last cat I lived with came to me as a temporary roommate as well. My neighbor had lost his job and became homeless, and couldn’t take Pepper to sleep under the bridge with him. He asked me to keep Pepper until he found a job and a new place to live, which I don’t think ever happened. If so, he forgot about his cat.
I remember my first night staying with Pepper. He yawned and I saw his long sharp teeth and my stomach flipped a little once I realized that I was sharing a very small space with a creature that had very sharp teeth.
Pepper taught me patience and how to cuddle, and only used his sharp teeth on me a couple of times. I cuddled with Pepper and we danced the tango under the moonlight, and I wished on stars that I would find a boyfriend just like Pepper; cuddly, attentive, and who loved to dance.
Then one day, Bill came, just as orange as Pepper was and he loved to dance as well. Interestingly enough, it seemed that once Bill came onto the scene, that’s when Pepper bounded away…tail pointed to the sky, big-haunch-butt-bounce off into a bush that never ended.
Bill chased after him and I remember noticing how he cared, and I thought to myself, “Maybe love can be this way?”
When Pepper never came back, I cried for a long time, especially at night, but consoled myself with the idea that maybe Pepper had transformed into Bill.
The chasing, the bounding and the endless bush was a trick, an illusion intended to distract and keep me from understanding the real truth: that all my wishing to the stars had worked….Pepper’s tail to the sky was an attempt to signal to me, the only way he could, pointing to the origin of his being, the moment before he transformed into a boyfriend.
The way Bill said my name was so warm and light, like my wishes, against the dark night sky, and I knew he was right and that he came from the purest kind of love.
Bill’s grandma assures me that Bill was never a cat and that for as long as she has known him, he has only been a human baby, boy and man.
Later, I also came to understand that Bill came from a long line of wishes that echoed off of the stars and would take years to finally materialize. Bill had been with me for a long time, in many different ways, and I loved him; I just didn’t know him yet. I will share these Bill stories with you in the coming weeks, to keep myself focused on the love that is here instead of the absence of the kitties, although I’m certain it will take some time getting used to coming to my computer and typing without a kitty curled up on my lap.
From me to you, with a lump in my throat, cuddle as much as you can, while you can. You never know when or what that cat will turn into. Hopefully, it’s just as cuddly.