One day last week, Timehop was all, “Hey crazy lady, here’s a round-up of all the cat-related things you posted about on the Internet on this date in the past.” Look, they’re not ALWAYS cat-related, OK? But this particular Timehop day was prolific with Marcy shout-outs:
For instance, one year ago when she was street-teaming for the new Emarosa release, and two years ago when I was trying to create a real-life Vampire Diaries story-arc to help keep Marcy alive forever.
Real talk: I have been a hot mess since putting Marcy to sleep on 3/31. For some reason, I have been bottling it up this time around. OK, not for “some reason.” I know it’s because part of me is like, “If I pretend like I’m OK, I’ll be OK!” Which is so stupid and I’m normally such a huge advocate for crying it out. Nothing has felt right since she died, and getting that tribute tattoo opened the floodgates. I have cried every day since then and…it has felt pretty good. Even Henry was like, “It’s OK. Just let yourself cry.” AND HE IS A HERO SO HE WOULD KNOW. I really do feel a sense of peace now that I have her furry face permanently etched upon my arm, but man—-I fucking miss her so hard. 17 years is a long time to be around someone every day and then have them taken away, so I know that feeling this way is normal, but I guess I also didn’t want to get to that point where I was making everyone around me feel uncomfortable, because “fuck, she’s crying about her cat again, maybe we should call HR.” I have pretty much stopped painting since her death, too. It’s like, why bother.
I was so nervous, like stomach-churning nervous, all day long prior to my tattoo session, mostly because I hadn’t seen the design yet but also because I knew that I was going to be struggling to hold it all together. As soon as I arrived at Kyklops, Erin pulled the sketch out of a folder and my eyes started to well up so fast because it was like being face-to-face with Marcy again; literally love at first sight. There wasn’t one single thing that I wanted changed. Then, while Erin was prepping, I noticed that she had the most perfect portrait of Mike Patton not only hanging on her wall, but also tattooed on her inner arm. So we talked about Faith No More and that made me start to calm down.
I had over three hours to sit in a chair and think. We talked here and there, but I’m not a big talker while getting tattooed, and we were both in the zone. So I sat quietly and thought a lot about how everything has changed. For the first time in my whole entire life, I am without a pet. It is devastating, but I just don’t feel ready to bring a new one in. I still have guilt. And it feels so raw that as I’m typing this, tears are burning my eyes and my heart seems like it’s actually sighing. So I started thinking of plants, succulents to be specific. I have been wanting to bring some into the house for some time now, mostly because the idea of finding/making/repurposing containers in which to hold them is super appealing to me. Second, they are supposed to be easy. Part C, because they’re pretty weird-looking and I love weird-looking things (see: Henry, jewelry made of teeth, Asian fruit). And most importantly, because I need something to take care of and take my mind off things.
No, plants aren’t replacing my pets, but they’re an adequate fill-in for the time being and they make my house look prettier. (Kind of.)
(Side note: this tattoo has healed almost magically; it’s kind of bizarre. But several people at work even commented on how it already looked healed and I really feel like it’s because Erin is just seriously amazing. Of course, I threw in the fact that it’s because she’s a girl and Glenn was like, “OH PLZ” and made some disgusted noise.)
The very next day, Henry took me to Lowe’s and we bought three succulents: some jade-plant thingie and two cacti.
I am smitten. IS THAT WEIRD? That me, Erin Rachelle Kelly, after 35 years of not giving a basic shit about vegetation, is suddenly O to the Bsessed with these creepy earth-growths? I spend most of my free time Googling about them and perusing succulent shops on Etsy and YES EVEN WATCHING YOUTUBE VIDEOS, which caused Chooch to walk by, stop, roll his eyes and mumble, “Oh Jesus Christ” as some d-bag urban gardener taught me how to propagate*.
*(That means MULTIPLY my succulents, you guys! THEY MAKE BABIES!)
I happily potted the jade thing in a nudie mug that I bought at the flea market over 10 years ago and have always been too afraid to drink from so it’s been sorely underused all this time. So of course he’s aptly named Ted Nudegent.
Chooch planted his in some old coconut thing that I drank booze from at some Italian festival in West Virginia one year. (Ha-ha, just kidding. Henry planted it.)
I spent all week pining for more succulents. And then, Henry took me to buy more on his birthday! I guess Henry enjoys garden-y stuff. I asked him if he used to have a garden and he said yes and then I asked him if we could talk about it and he quickly snapped NO because he’s always trying to keep secrets. So we bought some new plants at Home Depot, where an older man came up behind me, said “Excuse me, dear” and then PUT HIS HANDS ON MY WAIST AS HE SQUEEZED PAST ME and I seriously couldn’t stop reliving the moment for the rest of the weekend because it WAS SO INTIMATE and I really dislike human contact. Henry witnessed this whole horrifying scene and actually laughed out loud in public, which he hardly ever does in private, even. And then I was all excited because we were listening to Pet Shop Boys in the car on the way there and then it was also playing at Home Depot! I couldn’t believe it and was just about to mention something about kismet or serendipity to Henry when I realized that Pet Shop Boys was actually PLAYING LOUDLY FROM INSIDE MY PURSE because Spotify had switched over from the car stereo to my phone.
Maybe that older man was actually trying to dance with me?!
After Home Depot, we went to an actual nursery which was a HUGE LET DOWN and I made lots of angry and disappointed noises every time we walked past an employee so that they would know how worthless their dumb plant store was. Thank god we wrapped up Saturday’s succulent spree with a stop at Goodwill, where I found some 1970s-esque mugs and then lost Chooch but he was just in the bathroom so it’s OK.
This one is Chooch’s, obviously.
The mug on the right is from Taormina, Sicily and had been collecting dust on my shelf for the last 15 years. WELL, NOT NO MO’.
Some of my new adopted friends are still Jane and John Does. These things take time. I don’t give hasty names.
These photos are horrible. Don’t worry—I plan on doing a legit photo shoot with my real camera. I need to make hats for them first.
Panne, for pannekoek, because he’s obviously Dutch.
And then yesterday, Henry took me to another Home Depot while Chooch was at piano lessons and I got even more ahhhh can you stand it?! When we picked Chooch up, I was like, “GUESS WHAT I GOT?! MORE SUCCULENTS!” and he made a really disappointed, tired sigh. But whatev—Pearl and Aloysius are such babes!
I have even more than this windowsill illustrates now. Last night, I bought RARE SUCCULENT SEEDS from some Etsy seller in CYPRUS! Wendy said that I probably invited some deadly disease into the States but who cares once my bunny-eared succulents sprout!
This morning, I was still getting ready for work when Chooch started to leave for school.
“Say goodbye to the succulents!” I shouted down the stairs.
“No!” he shouted back with disgust. But then I heard him quietly sigh, “Goodbye, succulents. Goodbye, Bae.”
I couldn’t wait to come to work and share pictures of my new acquisitions with everyone! Glenn was thoroughly impressed and has added “I hope your succulents die” to his malicious repertoire of retorts.
I couldn’t even make it through our weekly meeting today without blurting out that I’m collecting plants now. This conversation carried on as we all walked back to our desks after the meeting and I told Todd that some people even pack a bunch of succulents into a picture frame and hang them on the wall.
“Wait…so they just like grow, in the air?” Todd questioned me in a tone that me feel like I was being accused of something.
“No, but there are plants that grow in just air! They’re called—-” and here I paused to curtail a giddy laugh “—tillandsias! I learned that because I was watching YouTube videos yesterday.”
I sat back down at my desk (because during this conversation, I was excitedly pacing back and forth between Todd’s and Glenn’s desk) and then said, “Wow. Hearing myself say that just now made me realize I don’t know who I am anymore.”
I will eventually get another pet someday, I swear. But right now, it’s comforting to know that if I try to hug most of my succulents, I’ll get injured. Just like when I would hug Marcy.