It is a weakness at the backs of knees.
It is a sickness in the stomach.
It is a bitterness at the back of the throat, the end of the tongue.
There's a crawl space with no entry point. Only rat-sized holes.
I know, god fucking damn it I know, I know my fool of a cat is in there. Where could she go that a pup couldn't follow? Where would feel dark and cozy and secure and safe? How fucking often has she crawled into something she couldn't get out of?
I don't know how many lives she used before she met me.
1) To survive and be picked up by the shelter back in May/June of 2006; then to force my hand into adopting the antithesis of what I wanted.
2) To survive living at the corner of Atwater and Woodlawn; found wandering in the Optometry building.
3) To survive on the stupidest street know to Bloomington, Washington Street, where cops found 60 MPH to be too slow in the pursuit of justice.
4) To survive the killer shooting at semis from interstate over passes on I-69 near to Lafayette.
5) To survive being a barn cat out at Rob's with two horses, one dog, and a very menacing team of barn cats.
6) The crawl space over Bill's garage.
7) The time she upturned the water and went without for four days over Thanksgiving and the toilet lid was down.
8) The time she crawled inside the partially finished dining room wall and we had to cut dry wall with a Sawzall to get her out.
9) Spending 48 hours in the busted, flat-tired conversion van that my neighbors parked in front of my house for eight months, found by me only by accident, because I forced myself to walk to the Farmer's Market.
10) Surviving to reincarnate at the shelter as Sweet Pea (see her on the flyers for August 18th. Lower right.
11) Jumping out the window at 3 a.m. and not sliding down the aluminum shade. I hauled her back in with spunk and pluck.
12) This is life 12. And 10 p.m. is too fucking late to take the Sawzall to the bathroom/entry room floor, though we'd been planning to do it anyway. Tomorrow. I'm moving all the boxes tonight.
All I fear is that I will have failed her. That Dede's friendly nose now pricked with claw marks is the last memory I will have of my beautiful kitty. She was so happily silhouetted in the window, watching the street below. An elegant black form arch with felinicity. And I was too under-caffeinated to remember to put up the fucking baby gate. ONE LITTLE THING. And she would still be there, glaring from the office at the top of the stairs. ONE LITTLE THING.
I want to crawl under the house myself and die with shame; the one creature I had been true to, for so long. Here she is, surrounded by an army of dogs in a house that smells all wrong, far from home and the city she knew and the neighborhood she ruled.
I fret. I fret. I fret. Come home, prodigal kitty! Come home!