i always thought that unhappy memories were saved in a sort of shutter box view. like a slow moving flip book that’s missing pages. i was around 8 when my father’s mother died. i remember standing in the door of my parents bathroom. my father was on his hands and knees. i think he was pulling up carpet or something like that. like me, keep busy and it hurts less. i said. “i’m not sad anymore.” he looked up as if barely seeing me, paused, said, “good”, and went back to his work. i wanted to let him know that he didn’t have to worry about me. i didn’t have the words to tell him this, but that was the intent of my comment. you are free to grieve without thinking of others, my grown-up self tells him. anyway, i thought that this disjointed array of photos was the brains way of “shelving” unpleasantries so as to aid in ones need to keep moving forward.
now, i’m not so sure.
it’s been a bad week for the monkey wrench household and our pets. we had to put down one of our beloved rats on monday. she had a tumor that had grown to a size that hindered her quality of life. we loved her, but rats don’t live very long, so the land scape of your life doesn’t have as many vignettes as some pets.
last night we lost our cat zoe. she was 13. she was a brown tiger, they evidently have a reputation of being, well, in respect for the dead, let’s just say finicky. she didn’t want to be picked up, or really petted. she’d hop up on a couch beside or on top of you and if you breathed too deeply, she’d give you the stink eye and maybe even hiss. you know those toys that make the sound of a baby cow when you turn them over? that’s what she sounded like if you picked her up..stubby hubs hunk and i would sing, “oh isn’t she the sweetest little bundle of love”, whilst she made this horrific mewling noise at being handled. the vet tech would come into the observation room with these thick leather gloves that went up to her elbows when she heard zoe had arrived for her check-up.
as most of us do, she had mellowed with age. she still didn’t really like to be held and you couldn’t pet her in too many places without her getting irritated, but she had started a morning ritual a year or so ago. she would climb up on the banquette to sit beside stubby hubs hunk in the morning as he took his coffee and read the paper. they became a regular appearance as i made breakfast and school lunches for the kids.
last night, it was evident that she was not herself. she had gotten sick and had an accident….at the same time. this cat has NEVER gone outside the box, so we knew something was off. we agreed that she would go see dr sue in the morning. sadly, for zoe, the morning never came. she passed quickly and the doctor at p.e.t.s. assured me, painlessly. i am convinced that my memories of this evening will be a series of snap shots. as i laid in bed, unable to fall asleep, the slow moving flip book played over and over again.
my darling stubs, so sensitive, and able to love. he said, “oh, the poor little thing. she could be so sweet, that it made you weather how much of a bitch she could be. kinda like you.”
he’s right. i hope that i will be remembered for my sweetness….