Monday, March 17, 2003

Stone Cold Sober

I'm nothing if not scientific so the other day as I was eating my pancake breakfast and listening to the tunes I decided I'd stick a flapjack inside my CD player just to see what would happen. I was stunned at the result: I got to hear Aunt Jemimah sing!

But not every day is filled with such excitement and entertainment. I must admit I'm still adjusting to the empty hallways and rooms of a house that used to occupy an important little feline companion. It's hard to be nearing 40 and heartbroken at the loss of a kitty. Try explaining that to your average Italian gigolo/lover.

So I was pleased, and somewhat looking forward to finally having the time to visit my good buddy and favorite Hugonian, Stu, who recently bought, along with his girlfriend Susan, a house in the northern most regions of our metropolitan area. It was indeed good catching up with ol Stu and hearing all about his trip last year to China.

Stu seems to think the world of my opinions on things God knows why. Thus he may have been a bit disappointed that these days I'm just too tired to do much more than whimper. It's not exactly a good time, some may say it's even a scary time, and yet in a telling way I think I'm just too weary to even let much seep in (or out).

A couple of years ago when Stu and Susan hooked up (as the kids say) Stu was having a hard time with his allergies around Susan's cat Seymour. This was around the time when Mr. Max was first showing signs of deteriorating health and so they asked me if I might be willing to take Seymour. I was seriously tempted. I was spending little time at home and I knew Max was having a hard time being home alone so much of the time. But ultimately I realized even thinking about getting another cat was more for my sake (knowing the day I wouldn't have Max was hard to even fathom) than his.

Friday night visiting Stu and Susan I finally got to meet Seymour. He's a sweet Siamese cat with a calm temperament. He, like Max, loves having his stomach rubbed. Seymour goes so far as to stretch out on his back, paws curled up close to his face just tempting someone (anyone) to rub his belly. Stu and Susan also recently brought home a kitten named Sophia. A mere ten weeks old Sophia is a bundle of energy. She's just about the smallest kitten I've ever seen and she loves to test Seymour's patience. She's also extremely vocal calling out as if to reaffirm her presence and assert herself.

It was the first time I've been around a cat since Max's death. At first it made me sad, made me feel what I've been trying to avoid feeling- how much I truly do miss Max. Well intentioned people keep asking me when I'm going to get another cat but at this point the question for me is not when but if. Max was the first pet I had (Louie, the turtle I had as a kid really doesn't count) and I'm just not used to the notion of lose one get another to take its place. Plus I really don't think it would be fair to another cat to be constantly compared to Max in any significant way.

But late in the evening as Stu was showing me his video of the trip to China Sophia crawled up in the chair next to me and let out a loud squeal. I grabbed her and held her and she cuddled in the small of the space between my hand and my wrist. She spent quite an amount of time cleaning herself and then went to sleep cuddling next to my warmth. I wondered if she could smell Max on me still and marveled at how she staked out her place in this huge and unrelenting (and increasing hard and cold) world.

I'm still not ready yet. I'm still not sure what to do next. I'm still not sure what to share and what to think as I feel Max's presence still and his absence so much. Can I tell anyone without them thinking I'm the sniveling overly sensitive sort how I still can't bear to put away his food and water dishes anymore than I can look away from the kitty hammock he spent so much time in?

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