Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Inkhat Gives a Eulogy.

Before I begin, know that this is not about Tristin, but begins with him.

The night before I called my mother to inform her that I had decided to send Tristin back to her. I felt very good about the decision. It felt logical and adult.

I have been feeling logical and adult lately, which is always a mistake. Be careful of the world when you start feeling logical and adult.

It started when someone offered me a puppy. Well, actually, someone offered Katherine a puppy. She tried desperately to find a way to keep it, holding the soft yellow baby to her shoulder, calling her roommate, but to no avail. She handed the puppy back. I didn’t, don’t, want a puppy. But, I realized, I want a dog. I have a cat, true, but I have always had a cat. The dogs have always been my mother’s.

I wanted a dog, which I would have to care for, look after, speak to. After all the difficult decisions, standing in front of a room of students, having my work reviewed by peers and professionals, speaking unabashed to writers whose work I had read and respected, this realization was the first to make me feel, well, old.

Not old in that, oh god I’ve lived for forever and ever old. That, oh I understand the world a little more-old.

What’s more, the decision to purchase or procure one was mine alone. I would care for it, name it, feed it, be responsible for its life and its death. Who could tell me I couldn’t have a dog? I decided I didn’t need one just now, but I held onto that strange feeling. I thought I’d take it out of my pocket and look at it more closely when I had a spare moment. Maybe during office hours.

I woke up 45 minutes after my alarm this morning and rushed to leave. Claudette was playing with the strays outside. I could hear her paws against the window panes. Clack! Clack! She had recently been making friends with them, but would look up at me with wide eyes if I caught her at it. I felt like a parent walking in on their teenager with a girl. I didn’t mind. At least I knew they were keeping warm and well fed in this weather. I swallowed a Cliff bar and left.

On the sidewalk a black bag was stuck to the curb, but when I walked by it was actually a cat, a black and white tuxedo and it was dead. It was on its back. Its eyes were half open. Between its paws was a sticky note that started, “I’m sorry I hit your cat.” But I couldn’t read the rest. It was Xena.

I tried to explain this to my colleagues smoking outside. “I don’t know,” I said, “Why it won’t leave me alone. She wasn’t even my goddam cat.”

“Well, you named her.” Someone said.

That was probably it. When I walked home she was gone. Someone took her away with her useless letter. I hope it made the driver feel a little better. She was no one’s cat.

But I'll miss her.


  1. I have to admit, I was scared for a moment when the post was titled with "Eulogy" and the first sentence was about Tristin.

    Still, very sad. Anakin, my family's first cat, vanished one stormy night. This was very distressing to me as a 12-year-old, and I still feel a little down every time I remember it.

  2. Agreement with Thomas. Scary way to start out.

    I wonder if maybe the rest of the note had a phone number. Or something equally responsible and less douchebaggy. Let's pretend it did. Let's pretend people are kind and responsible.

    I have to think, if you have the stomach to walk up to a dead cat and place a note on it, then you care enough to take the responsibility personally, rather than anonymously. But then I could be wrong.

    Anyway, I'm sorry you lost one of your stray friends. And I'm sorry for the real owner, too.

  3. If it were Tristin it would read something like, "Inkhat is in pieces all over the ground!"

    I fixed it so it is clearer.