~ My house is always a bit untidy since the last incremental encroachment of ME. For the preservation of my formerly stellar domestic goddess rating; my home was once immaculate. The mess is just backstory though, so bear with me ~
I had already been crying off and on for hours. So much that my eyeballs felt bruised and it was a little hard to see. I know that I worried some of my colleagues and I’m a bit sorry about that. Cardinal rule for women in the workforce – never cry. This wasn’t about work or caused by work, so I think it’ll be forgotten and forgiven.
I bolted as soon as the clock on my computer rolled four, running down the stairs and only pausing to put on my sunglasses. More to protect anyone from seeing my eyes than to keep out the sun. Some women have crying down to an art, looking like princesses in need of a tissue. I cry ugly. Wailing and tears and huge hiccups of grief and occasionally snot for good measure.
The walk home was the same, work men still finishing construction, coworkers waving, “Have a good evening, see you tomorrow.” I was different though. My wavering self control started to fray when I passed the guy putting pet food in his trunk just in front of the Pet Smart. The tears started to well immediately and I started walking faster. Gaining the safety of the hilly shortcut up to the back of my twinned apartment buildings, the spillover started.
I kept my head down and a tight rein on the sniffles that kept trying to escape. Straight past the first two cop cars, across the lawn, registered another two cop cars and a policewoman interviewing a woman on the front steps of my building. Apparently, there’d been a stabbing but that’s just a rumour that I heard about two hours later. Nothing really registered.
I made it in my front door, dropped my coat and purse and just stood looking into my apartment living room, where the afternoon sun was streaming in my window, illuminating my lack of vacuuming. Illuminating too, a pearly silver something stuck on the back of my upholstered rocker; one of the few pieces of actual furniture that I have that is from what used to be my home. I stared and stared, with my aching eyes and finally registered what I was seeing. Mysty’s fur. She would rub her face on the corner of my chair, it was My Chair and then sleek down her fur against the same spot. I know I’ve seen it at least once before since I moved here and it only registered in my brain as “How ironic, I brought my dirt from the old homestead” and then was promptly forgotten.
As soon as my brain grasped what I saw, my knees slowly came undone. Reverently and with tears now running slowly down my cheeks, I inched closer and then sat staring at the silvery hairs that once upon a time in a Suzy Homemaker world, I cursed. I reached out my fingertips to stroke the fur and it felt as soft as hers always had. A not quite short-haired, silver shadow tabby. Small and delicate with green eyes in her beautiful heart-shaped face that we joked she got from her Mum. Me.
I broke down utterly. At another time, in another world, she would have come to comfort me. Soft whiskered kisses and gentle head butts – head butts of love – to say it’s okay. It won’t be okay anymore because she was put down at about 1:30pm this afternoon. I wasn’t there, for reasons beyond my control and definitely not my wishes and I was informed by a text after the fact.
She was old, although you’d never know it by her still loving nature and she was ill. thyroid issues, also like her Mum and severe arthritis. In the last couple days, she’d begun the early stages of kidney failure. We didn’t know this until her vet appointment today but it advanced like lightning due her age and already tired body. It was suggested she be put down on the spot as she was clearly suffering and I agree with that decision.
What is breaking my heart is not being able to say goodbye to my baby. To be denied my right to hold her one last time and let her know how much I loved her. I feel like I’ve been robbed of what everyone should be allowed, a loving farewell. There is no real fault, no malice of intent I’m sure. Just a benign indifference because she didn’t live with me anymore. I bought her knowing I had pet allergies but a home without a pet didn’t seem right and I loved her from the moment I saw her at the pet shop. In those days, you could still buy pets at malls. She would always come to the glass when I visited and the first time I held her, I knew she’d be coming home with us. My allergies worsened over the years, Mysty moved out with my daughter and I got to visit. All good.
This should be some sort of educational story. There should be a valuable lesson or brilliantly worded thought in it to make it worthwhile. Do real writers write about their cats? I don’t know – I don’t care. What I do know is that I have lost so much in this last year and that most days I feel transparent as glass and as breakable as crystal. I feel all my old life being blown up, firebombed and sometimes, just slipping away. Do other people have it worse? Maybe. Probably. This isn’t to compare though, it’s not about first world problems or bad decisions and the possible Karma it brings. It’s mostly just that I loved that damn cat from the time she was a baby and through her mischievous, eating my yarn, sleeping on my pillow years. I loved her sweet, friendly, playful nature and how she could be totally undignified like a kitten. even as an old lady. I don’t want her to be gone. I don’t want to think that she wondered where I was… and that is making me cry again, so I have to wrap this up before I can’t write anymore.
So I sat on my floor crying for an hour and then fell asleep exhausted like babies do and although this wasn’t really about my crappy housekeeping , I’m so damn glad that I didn’t vacuum that little bit of fur because that’s all there is now.
I think I’ll leave it there.
I love you Mysty Gris.
2 October 2013