Lilygreen

United States

Ridiculously self- pressured, hopelessly (and unsuccessfully) in love for three years, and scared to write the things that matter. And that’s me on a good day . Good luck.

Message to Readers

This isn’t the best showing of my current writing abilities, but it’s important to me because I wrote it about a pet I truly loved. Rest In Peace, Buddy.

Something Living to Call my Own

January 28, 2021

FREE WRITING

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I’ve always wanted a cat. My mother raised one when she was a child, a scruffy alley cat that she found in the back of a movie theatre. She loved that cat, she raised him on an eye dropper of milk until he slowly grew into a rambunctious feline, intent on destroying her house’s screens and climbing to the top of the door. She called him Buddy, a tribute to the idea of animal companionship that she had always wanted. Caring for a cat is not the same as caring for another human. Cats are special, an idea of animal perfection, lithe hunting predators that can be tamed for a short period of time, during which, if you are lucky, you can touch them. The sound a cat makes once it has been petted, a sound so sweet and distinctly foreign to the harsh vowels that come from a human tongue. Nothing can rival petting your first cat, especially one that you can call your “own” as much as one can own a force of nature, like a hurricane or a hailstorm.
I had already stroked my first cat, being at the wise age of thirteen. Buddy was still alive then, and he had been my first contact with a living thing that was not a human. I remember fretting over him, even though it should have been impossible. I used to try and braid his fur, and he would sit patiently, looking at me with dark green eyes, almost studiously. I would eventually scare him when I was younger, by pulling his tail or accidentally poking his eye. When that happened, my younger self would chase after him, often knocking things over in the process to reach him again and keep playing with the “kit-tee.” When I became a little bit older, around eight, I began to be more understanding, letting him go when he did not want to stay with me and gently  feeding him cat treats and wet food when his teeth began to give out. I really hate watching things die. Under ordinary circumstances, such as old age, or a long-withstanding disease, I can accept death. But with a pet, time always seems too short. Only twelve years may be considered a full life in cat years, but the humans they leave behind will mourn them for far longer than that.
Buddy died. We had taken him to a vet nearly every week for two months, but nothing they did seemed to make any difference. He hated taking the pills that the veterinarian prescribed, and his usually happy-go-lucky demeanor was permanently gone, replaced with a sad, whittling away figure, always hungry but never eating anything. An alley cat at heart, Buddy could never be reigned in. We fed him one Wednesday morning and came back to an empty deck which felt lonely without the sounds of cat purring and trademark tears in the screen. We did not see Buddy for two days after that. We looked for him, walking down the street, asking the neighbors if they had seen a black and white cat with rheumy eyes, but it was no use. No one had seen him and we worried constantly about him, my parents even taking off work to continue the search.
Finally, my sister found him. She was standing by the balcony, watering the plants, when she saw a black lump in the neighbor’s wheelbarrow. Being an absolute rebel, she climbed over, trespassing in our neighbor’s yard and trampling their beautiful flowers along the way. A shivering, furry lump that was Buddy greeted her. Barely more than skin and bones, she thought that he was dead. He had probably spent the last two nights corralled up in that wheelbarrow, all through a frightful storm. My sister took him to our parents and they drove him to the vet’s once again. It was ten o’clock at night, but no one could think of the time at a moment like this, and the doctor looked him over quickly, even though it was past closing time. We were served an ultimatum. We could either extend Buddy’s life for another month or two with a two thousand dollar surgery or we could let him go. 
Everyone exited the room, and Mom and Dad talked about it. I could hear their hushed whispers as I stroked Buddy for what could be the last time. I thought about him when I first met him, so patient and loving, the perfect animal, with compassion that you could see deep into his eyes. I looked at him, but I couldn’t see the cat I had fallen in love with. I saw an empty shell, just a hollow skeleton on an examination table panting for air. And even before our parents walked back into the room, grimly shaking their heads, I knew that it was time to say goodbye.

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  • January 28, 2021 - 1:52pm (Now Viewing)

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