Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stunned

My thoughts keep going back to that room at the back of the vet clinic where I sat beside the open door of his cage and spent the last hour of his life with him, one hand cradling his head, the other under his paw, fingers against the bright pink pads.

I will be in that room for a long time.

They told me that he was comfortable but small tremors would occasionally run through him and his tail quivered in spite of his lethargy.

He knew I was there. Those bright yellow eyes knew me even through the haze of impending death.

I will miss his soft fur--it was such a brilliant white. There was a time as a kitten--before his full coat came in--that he seemed rather mangy-looking and his belly was a bare pink. Then, overnight, he bloomed into that astonishing beauty.

He was a calm cat, not given to imagined terrors: practical and centered, not wracked by Charcoal's nameless fears or Punkin's insecurity.

And he *was* a good boy--that puny white kitten I raised almost from scratch. He was equanimous and friendly, even-keeled, confident without being pushy. He was the rare one of the cats that moved effortlessly between cliques, splitting his time between the Boys in the Back and the house cats.

Tiny was the only one who objected to his presence. She has never forgiven him for coming along when he did. For until then, she had been the kitten, the baby of the family. The stunted white kitten displaced her and because of that, she dislikes all the white cats in our house.

Pickle ignored her dramatics.

He was one of the handful of cats in our home that knew no other place but this--those blessed cats who expect everyone to love them and who sleep without nightmares.

I loved to rub his nose--that graceful curve that lent him a Roman look. He would wrinkle the bridge of his nose when I stroked it, exaggerating the look.

I am too full of memories--and sadness--tonight.

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