“He’s not gonna die ya know!” It was the last thing she had said before they left for the vet.
When they came home, I was in the gray walled laundry room, it had sweaters on the floor and shoes out of shelves. When Elisa walked in from the garage I could see her eyes were red and looked lifeless as if the world had ripped something fro her. I wondered what had happened to my sister, to make her this way.
“Where’s Tipper?” I asked.
“Where do you think?” She said with a bitterness that she didn’t have an hour earlier. She walked away, down the gray stairwell to her room. Tipper had always been her cat since he was just a kitten, he had silky tabby fur; his eyes were the color of melted honey, always warm and comforting.
“Now, I have something to tell you...” came my mothers voice from the living room. “When we went to the vet we found out Tipper had a genetic condition that made crystals form in his bladder. His pee was becoming rock hard & he was unable to empty his bladder. Not only was this painful for him, it was killing him. There was an option of surgery, but it was well over $1200 and no guarantee it would save him. So we had to put him down.” She finished somberly, the slight wrinkles around her eyes deepened and the corners of her mouth were slightly drooped.
‘What? this couldn’t happen! Vets helped animals, they could fix anything... or could they?’ The doubt crept so stealthily into my head that I didn't catch it until it was too late, like a virus on a computer it spread like wild fire corrupting all my memories.
My world was spinning upside down. He couldn’t be dead. There was that word ‘dead’ it had meant so little until now, dead was for old people I didn’t know. Dead was not the word for the kitten I had watched grow up. Not for the same kitten i ha held in secret, in front of Elisa’s bed terrified that she would come in and find me cradling him and never let me near him again. Not for the kitten, now a grown cat with soft tabby fur and bright honey colored eyes so full of life.
I had to get out of there, I started to run my feet stumbling over one another, I couldn’t see through my tears. I ran hard trying to distract myself, trying to outrun my grief. Trying to outrun the little pattering of memories like little kitten feet bringing up the now empty part of my heart, where a soft tabby kitten had once been. That hole was now gaping, small scratch marks were left where Tipper had been so abruptly ripped from it.
Finally I stopped running, I gave up, I just couldn’t out run grief no matter how hard I tried. It was as pointless as learning to fly to get away from the birds. I could feel the hot tears running down my face like a boiling waterfall. Every thought I had about him was painful, like a knife in my chest. I sat on the ground and thought, thought about how I was going to make myself go back without him. How I was going to make it back to the house I knew he would never be in again. I could remember when we first got him and his brother Dip. They were so fragile, so soft and innocent. From their soft fur to their wobbly legs they were perfect and imperfect, together, they chewed up shoe laces and purred like motorboats, as loud as airplanes in the evening sky. Dip and Tipper were named for similar reasons, Dip was named that because of his white ear that looks like it was dipped in white chocolate. Tipper was named such because he had very wobbly legs and would tip over more often than the rest of his brothers and sisters. But now the half to my whole was gone. I had lost a cat, but he was more than that to me. He was my kitty, my family, and he was more than just a cat. He was my striped “Hello” in the morning, he was the happy to my sad. He was more than just a memory and more than just a goodbye. He was a brother, he was a friend, he was the person that would listen to me even when nobody else cared. Now he was gone like the wind, like a wisp of a smoke taken by a goodbye.
I will remember this moment for the rest of my life because Tipper was significant, and now he's gone like a yesterday afternoon. Because I can't change yesterday no matter how hard I try, and I can't change the fact that my kitty is gone.
Today started with a simple plea for hope 'He's not gonna die today.' it was more than a reassurance because if you really love someone they will never die. They will always be in your memory good or bad, but that memory is yours and yours alone. No one can change a memory or force you too forget one they are as you wish them too be.