Driving home from the office last week, “My perfect life has materialized!” The thought of two kittens and me snuggled up on the couch, laptop at the ready, Netflix sharing all its wares, made me giddy.
That was last week. Much as I think of myself as a, “No thank you, I’d rather stay in,” sort of girl…Turns out not so much. Cats don’t comment on shoes, ask about new haircuts or enjoy a good martini nearly as well as the Dolls in my circle. Wine, alone, even in the bath, gets old when there’s no need for dressing drinks or Ubers.
And then came yesterday. It’s The Norwegian’s birthday. Not surrounded by the noises, voices and humans of the office, the gas station and the fave Mexican place with the blanco enchiladas, I’ve only to reflect. Not my favorite. I wake to find the little white cat gasping for breath, drooling, hair askew. She’s quite particular about personal upkeep. She looks at me as if, “How long are you going to let me wither?”
Intravenous fluids, thyroid meds and an appetite stimulant have done nothing and my brain says it’s time. My heart not so much. She coughs and her body racks with the effort. She jumps from the bed and on impact falls. I call the vet and take her, wrapped in her favorite, fuzzy binkie, for her last car ride. The vet is kind and compassionate and pretends not to notice the rivers of mascara striping my face or the snot spread willy nilly. She even nods her head pretending to understand my high pitched cry talk about how the little white cat has always been so healthy.
A thought crosses my path. There is a world wide pandemic. I am bereft on my dead husband’s birthday and my constant companion of 14 years dies. Charlie Brown’s cloud has got nothing on this girl. I weep the tears of a child and do my best Miss Haversham donned in The Norwegian’s pajama bottoms and t-shirt. At least they’re so big I look tiny. I sink into an overstuffed chair and dive into a book. What else to do?
I have enough toilet paper–no need to panic. I bought food. I am learning to cook for one. The Yayas are planning a Zoom happy hour. I tell them I’m not myself. They circle. They are pet moms. Gratitude swells. And then this morning, a coworker sends a note and virtual hug. She lost her sweet kitty just a month ago. If I’m feeling extra lonely, I can foster her cat while she goes through a move. My eyes well again.
It’s not sadness. It’s overwhelm at a full cup, a cup overflowing. And perhaps that’s the lesson. We need moments, times like these to shake us from our grind, to remind us how connected we truly are, how we love and are loved. I, for one, can’t wait to emerge from the cocoon, shielding my eyes from the sun, and dance on tables again. It’s been a while.
The saddest of days teach us to appreciate the happiest of days and maybe, just maybe, the most ordinary of days won’t be so ordinary after all.
Keep away from me Dolls!!