posted at 10:18 am
on Mar. 24, 2013
What I Learned in Grade 6
All the Yoga I Can Eat
She’d zonk out and I’d try to stay awake until the end of the show, and then when it was time to go to bed she’d anticipate and lurch awkwardly, stumblingly up the stairs in front of me, and beat me to bed. By the time I was done brushing my teeth, she’d already be asleep again, curled up in a ball on my pillow.
On nights that I was already asleep in bed, kitty would come and curl up beside me or on top of me, and I’d be warmer, and she’d purr and sometimes I’d rest my hand on her and feel her breathe. When she slept somewhere else, I’d sleep deeply like a log, and when she slept in my bed, I’d sleep contentedly and lightly. And both were good.
I miss the way she wouldn’t let me be alone with my thoughts, especially when they weighed too much. When I came home from a hard day, if she was there, I couldn’t just be grumpy and turn on the tv or surf the Web—right away she’d be all over me, up in my face, telling me how her day was and how much she missed me and how bored she was and how other cats had annoyed her that day. And if she was hungry, that couldn’t wait; that was a crisis, it had to be dealt with.
When I’d be quietly worrying about tomorrow, she’d be right there in my face reminding me that it was not tomorrow, it was NOW. I’d be drawn into the present moment, and then she’d nudge me and blink at me until I gave her some of my drink or a nibble of cheese or morsel of popcorn. When ever she was around me, I lived more in the moment, in the present, and I was attentive and happier.
My kitty loved to play, to make everything a game. I could chase her in circles around the house all day and she’d run away, and then stop and look back and make sure I was following, and then dodge away again. She loved to misbehave in these obvious, “clumsy” ways—knocking things out of my hand or knock something over or off the couch. That was the only time she was ever klutzy, when she thought it would make me chase her more—the rest of the time she was graceful and sleek as a gazelle.
And she was so hard to catch when she didn’t want to be caught, always just out of reach, and so easy to be caught when she was ready. I’d lift her up and nuzzle her.
I know she loved being bad, loved thinking she was being bad. Except she wasn’t, really. She just wanted to run, to run as fast as she could from time to time, to make me be out of breath chasing her. She just wanted to feel like a badass kitty, I think. But she was really a good kitty, by any measure.
She loved to be outside, in the sun, in the grass. Vancouver’s rain got to her and made her hissy; in the summer she was happiest. It was hard to keep her inside when the weather was good.
I loved people’s reaction to meeting her. She was funny as hell, wasn’t she? I loved telling them stories about her antics and adventures. She just made an impression on everyone, and she never strolled through a room without making sure you noticed her being there. She wasn’t shy, even if she was sometimes uncertain about certain people, new people.
And she was beautiful, elegant, smooth, always well-groomed. She loved the collar I bought her, and I don’t think I was just imagining that it made her happy to wear it. She wasn’t a perfect show cat. Instead, she had something about the way she moved, some spark that people always noticed and remarked on. She photographed beautifully—she seemed to always know when a camera was on her, and the lens loved her—and I so wish I’d taken more photographs and shared them on Instagram. You always think there’ll be time, but you don’t know, you never really know.
My place isn’t the same without her. I keep finding little traces and toys. And since the end, my heart is a little bit different shaped now. I just miss her, it’s that simple. But that’s the way it is with kitties. You give them love, they return it unconditionally, and then one day too soon you are left with good memories to cherish—and little balls of hair under the couch to remember them by.
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