Speck and Marcy, 1998
Things haven’t gotten any easier yet. In fact, I almost feel worse. It was good to be back to work last night, because at least at the office, there are no memories of Speck. But I kept crying every time my work friends would tell me they were sorry to hear about her. It’s nice to work with supportive people, that’s for sure, and I really appreciated how sweet and sensitive they were being to me. Not a single “It’s just a cat” was muttered.
One of my bosses came over last night to see how my week off was, and I said it was fine, paused, and then blurted out, “But my cat died on Saturday!” and then started crying. I mean, I knew this day would come but no one could have prepared me for how heart-breaking it is. I don’t remember being this distraught anytime one of our family dogs died when I was growing up. I guess I hoped it would be easier as an adult, but no. No, it’s much worse.
Being in the house alone for the first time yesterday gave me way too many opportunities to dwell. I went upstairs and a Live song was on the radio and instantly I was taken back to when I got her.
It was late-spring of 1998, I was 18 and living on my own. I had already had Marcy for two months by that point, and even then, I didn’t consider myself a “cat person.” But Janna and I had been visiting her friend’s mom, whose daughter’s cat had recently had kittens. Janna immediately claimed one but I was more hesitant. I already had one. I was a dog person! What did I need another cat for.
But then I saw Speck, looking like a little Mogwai, and then I looked out the wide-open front door of the house and how it led right out onto a busy street. It seemed like dangerous living conditions for a cat. So Speck came home with me. Of course, she was named Nicotina in the beginning, because I was an idiot 18-year-old chain-smoker. The name was meant to be a joke, but it stuck. Speck became one of her pet names, and that’s the one Chooch chose to use the most.
I started dating Jeff a few months after I got Speck, and he subsequently spent the next three years in her life. I sent him a message on Facebook last night to let him know that she had passed, and just doing that made me cry even harder.
I think that’s the worst part, is that not only did she die, but so did an era. It’s forced me to remember all the different parts of my life that she was around for, how much things have changed, how many people have come and gone, and for a sentimental asshole me, I feel like my whole world is imploding. She essentially grew into an adult along with me. I can’t even look at Marcy and Don without bursting into tears. Henry told me I need to stop worrying about them dying too or I’m going to drive myself crazy, but it already feels like I’ve driven myself to Hell.
Last night, Henry and I were sitting together on the couch. I looked at him and said, “Now who will burrow under the covers when we’re trying to sleep?” but my voice got caught halfway through and I started to sob all over again. Now no one comes scampering into the kitchen every time the fridge opens. Now no one stands on my stomach every morning as a hint to get the fuck out of bed and put food in their bowls. “Please don’t die,” I said to Henry with urgency.
This is so hard. I don’t even want to eat an apple.