My fucking cat is dead. I'm fucking angry!!! There was so much left to do. This feels so different from eight months ago when Bello died. Bello lived a full life and there was nothing unfair or inappropriate about his passing. And so my feelings were ones of deep sadness an all encompassing sense of longing and loneliness. But Slacks was just beginning- WE were just beginning. We had an entire life laid out before us with fresh bones and fur and little white teeth. Youth is immune to age. It felt he would never get old, never be at the end and I loved this about him. But he was also Slacks and he was a worry on my heart from the beginning. He went- always out, forward, toward the new. He was without hesitation. Utterly fearless. Never, not even once, promising to be mine.

There was that time... ...when he was with the teenage girls in the group home after he climbed a tree outside their bedroom window and begged for admittance. They intended to secretly keep him until he playfully hooked and removed a chunk of weave, which he still had tangled around his paw when I picked him up. ...when he was with the overnight security guard at the Dilation Clinic and lived in a parking lot for three nights. ...when he was picked up in the morning by an office worker and taken to the top floor offices of an energy company. When I came to get him I checked in at the front desk by saying I'm here for Slacks after which he was paged! ...when he partied with the dudes across the street and came home smelling like beer and cigs and slept for 18 hours straight. ...when he was carried across Martin Luther King Boulevard by two kindergarteners and lived behind the post office for two days. ...when he joined an upper class family for abalone steaks in their backyard and the kids cried when I came to pick him up. ...when he took to sleeping in the small worn cheetah print dog bed on a neighbor's back porch and eating the crusty ant infested stray cat food they left out when I was consistently offering rich kitten food that cost its weight in gold. ...when he followed a couple home, at least 3 miles, to an entirely different neighborhood, and lived with her a couple of days before she decided to call me. She almost didn't call me. ...when I rode past a house and saw a dad on the porch with his kids in a stroller. He was swinging a cat down between his legs, swooping past the kids faces, and up into the air while singing "It's the kitty, It's the kitty". This was not the first time Slacks had played swing set with this family. ...when I was called to the home of a neighbor a handful of blocks away and arrived to see a sullen pre-teen girl playing a romantic fantasy game in which Slacks was her princely suitor. As I approached they both quickly turned their heads and pretended that never happened. ...when he was just gone, for a long time, and I never knew where he had been. And right as I couldn't take the worry any longer, he would saunter up and throw himself down with snort as if I had no right to place expectations on him. He would live his own life, beholden to no one, loving everyone, taking life like blacktop on an open road- all speed with no obstacles. In the end life was an obstacle that he zoomed right past, out, forward, toward the new.

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