Fate of Figments
I would wonder where figments of the imagination roam
when Creators choose to let go.
Unfortunately, I've learned
we wander until the Earth itself grows cold,
and finally welcomes us home.
The Other Side
I held her limp form in my arms. Eighteen years, three houses, and the many hundreds of hours she spent with me, all leading to this moment. Blackie's death.
I could still remember bringing her home for the very first time: Bridget drove the car while I held the box that contained the two kittens. Both were black, with an equal small splash of white on their chests, but their names were produced from the fur that came out of their ears. Blackears, or Blackie, and White-ears, or Whitey. Having grown up with as many kittens as siblings I knew how to care well for both pets, and within a year Bridget and I were owners of fairly polite, albeit sometimes willingly naughty, cute, and cuddly kitten-cats.
Then, Bridget became pregnant. We were so excited to have our first child, and so was Blackie. Whitey took no notice of her mumma's expanding belly, but Blackie was incredibly concerned. Often I would come home from work to the sight of Bridget resting in our rocking chair with Blackie kneading her stomach ever so gently. Sometimes the cat would snuggle up next to the human and lean her head against the belly. The first time she felt a kick she was super worried, and started meowing in Bridget's face: the poor thing was so concerned for her mumma, and it was very cute to see. The first day after Bridget delivered our child I snuck Blackie into the hospital to see him. Her reaction was priceless. I set her down on the bed, and she walked ever so slowly towards the sleeping child, never taking her eyes off him. She sniffed him all over for five minutes, and then she started wailing at Bridget and I, trying to convince us to give her the baby! She even tried pushing herself between Bridget and the baby, so she could cuddle up close to him.
Once home, Blackie was for a time our new baby's, George's, closest companion. When George was around eight months old, Blackie herself became pregnant, and within three months gave birth to three kittens. She was a good but strict mother, and her three little balls of fur were eventually given away, and Blackie was spayed, because both Whitey and Bridget were also now pregnant, and my modest wage couldn't afford more babies. I hated to do that, as kittens were a part of my childhood; but I was an adult now, and children were the new kittens. Whitey gave birth to four babies of her own, but turned out to be a shoddy mother: Blackie even took better care of them than she did. Once they were given away Whitey was spayed, and shortly after we lost her for three days. I found her body in the ditch on the third day, hit dead by a car, and buried her in the backyard.
After the spaying, Blackie was different. She was more cranky, more naughty, more difficult to handle for Bridget. But the cat was still the same sweet ball of benevolence to our children, with our little girl Amelia joining the party. Throughout the next several years, Blackie was incredible with the children, and she never said no to a cuddle from me. Sometimes when she was feeling extra naughty, she would jump up on mine or one of the kid's shoulders while we were eating, trying to steal our food. She was technically a small cat, and she never became fat, although sneaking table scraps to her was never an offense: I in fact began that tradition.
When Blackie was seven years old, we all moved house, to be closer to my wife's grandparents. Blackie was incredibly crabby in the new place, especially since we had recently acquired a new cat, a fluffy grey-and-white female called Princess. Princess was allowed to have loads and loads of kittens over the next few years, and Blackie never liked one of them. As She go older she became picky, and a little bit senile. She sometimes didn't eat her cat food, wanting instead the "people food" that we humans were eating, and her love of hotdogs increased every party. But I eventually was able to work my job from home, and Blackie was very happy about that, for I was the only one who treated her right. The young kids paid 90% of their pet attention to Princess, her kitties, and our new cocker-spaniel, and Bridget never had time for her anymore, what with homeschooling and cooking for six kids. She was cranky and crabby towards everyone else, but with me she was as sweet and cuddly as the first day I held her. Her days now mostly consisted of breakfast in the morning, going outside to go to the toilet in the grass and wash herself a bit, then begging to be let inside and sit on my lap until dinner. Some nights I even snuck her in bed between Bridget and I: the wife didn't approve, but Blackie appreciated it very much.
Eventually we moved again, when Blackie was around sixteen and George was just fifteen, and I became a gardener at a tiny university in the suburbs. Blackie loved it there so much. For the next two years, she roamed the university grounds at will. The majority of the students were dog lovers, unfortunately, but Blackie didn't care: so many times I would be walking around doing my job, and I would see the cat stretched out on a blanket in the sun with a student or several. She would even creep into the lecture halls, and the lecturers quickly grew to accept her as part of the audience. It was not uncommon for a student to suddenly cry out in the middle of a lecture because Blackie had dug her claws too deep while kneading, but the lecturers didn't mind too much as most of them had cats of their own. One of the students who had graduated only a week ago had broken down crying when he had to say goodbye to Blackie.
That's what I felt like now. Crying. She was still breathing, but barely. Old age had been cruel to her: she had not been able to jump for a year, and these past few months it had been difficult for her to walk. And now, she was dying. There was nothing the vets could do: death is natural, and it had finally caught up with my old friend. The children had all said their goodbyes and left us together, Blackie and I. Together till the end. The poor thing was licking my hair now, a sign of ownership for a cat: I nudged her and patted her gently.
"You're a good girl, Blackie. You always have been. My favourite cat in the world. You have been a sister to my kids, and a wonderful, pretty, amusing, funny, and crabby seventh and first child to me. I can't thank you enough. You have to go now, but death is not parting us: I will always be here with you: I'll remember you forever. You'll always be my cat."
Somewhere through the eulogy she had gone still, and I dissolved into tears.