Too cleanThu 19 October 2023 by R.L. Dane
Content Warning: this post deals with the loss of a pet
So, last night I stayed up late carefully putting up my cat's effects: food bowl, water bowl, litter tray. I washed his carrier (because he peed in it when he was sick) in the washing machine. I was scheduled to have a cleaner come over and clean the place, but I wanted to deal with his personal effects… personally. Just out of respect to him.
Just a minute ago, I arrived home and the place is spotless. And also... so sterile. No water bowl, no food bowl, and especially odd: no litter tray or mats. That part of the bathroom is just empty and open, and I don't even know what to think about that.
I feel a bit like a different person, coming home. A person who does not have a cat. Almost (in some small way) a person who never had a cat.
I don't like that feeling. It feels too clean here. No sign of life whatsoever except me.
Does sixteen years of love and companionship get effaced THAT easily? That quickly?
The heart remembers what the mind, in its slavish expediency and utterly myopic self-preservation seeks to forget.
The heart remembers.
I feel a bit like I'm in a stranger's home. Some sad sap who's got everything so well put-together, yet so tragically life-impoverished: no pitter-patter of four soft feet, no random objects here and there, no signs of life. Some sad sap that comes home to merely… himself, never to hear the melodic vocalization of a loving hunter seeking its prey (Science Diet Multi-Benefit w/d, Dry. Feline.)
This is a reality I never imagined: alone. Oh, I felt alone a ton. I mourned and bellowed my aloneness to the walls all the time. I had a PhD in self-pity, and that most horrid elective, self-hatred.
But yet... I'm not alone. I really see that now. It may now be a non-cat-owner's home, but the heart still belongs.
He did more than rub off on me. He did more than give me some amazing memories.
He changed me. Forever.
And I had no idea just how much.