Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nine lives

This past Saturday was the annual OB Holiday Parade, a requisite holiday activity around these parts. It's the only parade that I've ever been to that I truly enjoy. That's because it doesn't start until 5:05 pm. Yes, it's a night parade -- with lights, and tipsy spectators, and float after marching softball team after surfboard-carrying squad. The grown ups have their cups and the kids their candy.

Post parade we headed back to my house, where the kids ate the myriad tiny candy canes they collected and the grown ups (may have) had another drink.  As Jacquie and Bill were getting ready to head home, we heard a desperate wail; a wail I knew intimately. It was my oldest, and she sounded hurt.

We dashed outside and I swear she said, through her sobs, "my foot got run over." Oh good god! Her foot? What was she even doing outside? Shit! But as she got closer she appeared to be walking as normal. She continued toward us, and we came to realize that she was saying "Lily got run over!" "Lily got run over!" Lily?!? Oh good god. No! Not Lily.

She led us down the sidewalk, a house or two away, and there on the sidewalk lying on her side was the poor dead kitty. I could scarcely believe it. Lily? Bad-ass, 10-year-old Lily? Lily who never roams too far from home and vehemently defends her territory? Lily who has slept with me for the past 10 years? Lily, my trusty companion who has purred her way through my two divorces, five moves, and child rearing of the last decade?

But wait, was it truly Lily? And was she really even dead? I mean, the markings were hers, and she wasn't in good shape, that was clear, but could she still be alive? I touched her, stroked her fur, she seemed to still be warm, she definitely wasn't stiff. But try as I might I couldn't find a heartbeat, nor detect any rise and fall of her chest.  My poor, poor kitty. My poor, poor kids. We were all out there, freaking out, mourning the loss of our beloved cat - me and my three girls, Jacquie and Bill and their girl. There was sobbing, sadness, and disbelief. I, unbelievably, although shaken up, was pretty calm -- not crying or losing it. That could come later. Jacquie was a voice of reason too.

We needed to get Lily home, she obviously needed a proper burial, so I ran home to grab a soft towel to wrap her in - happy for the action step. Once back onsite, I picked the poor girl up, for the last, short walk home. It was a sorry procession. Crying daughters and the dead feline.

Could it really be? I studied her face as I walked with her in my arms. She looked different, but death will do that. The shakti is gone, you're holding only a shell. But the kids weren't totally convinced either, they ran into my room to see if she might possibly be asleep on my bed, as is so often the case

The bad was empty.

I was almost to the glass slider that lead to the deck where I planned to leave Lily overnight, until we awoke, borrowed a shovel, and had a proper ceremony. I was gazing at her unmoving, inanimate face when I heard cheers of elation and sequels of joy. What the? 

My youngest had found Lily, very much alive, sleeping in my bedroom closet, as is often the case when there are loud visitors about.

Lily alive? Really? Well hallelujah, and praise the lord, and all of that come-back-from-the-dead jubilation shit!! This is amazing.

But, um, if dear Lily is dozing in the closest, whose dead cat am I currently holding?

The drama of what to do with this unknown dead cat was (almost) harder for me than the initial shock of seeing my dead kitty, but that is a story all of its own...

So there you have it, Lily goes on to live out whichever life of hers this is. The other kitty is on to the next.

May he/she warrior on.


jacquie said...

I'm soooo glad you told the tale! What a crazy scene that was. I will never forget that moment when Capri found Lily and you turned around with the unfortunate bundle in your arms.... You were a goddess of zen and calm, girlfriend. And now everyone really knows how much Lily means to them, and what it would feel like if she left you.

Crazy shit, man. Crazy.


Pat said...

That is hysterical! Almost makes you want to staynsober....almost.
Can't wait to find out what you did with the other cat.
Love, Mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

"If dear Lily is dozing in the closest, whose dead cat am I currently holding?"

This is beyond awesome, Beth. Brilliantly told tale of woe and redemption.

To quote Jacquie: And now everyone really knows how much Lily means to them, and what it would feel like if she left you.

And to quote your Mom: Can't wait to find out what you did with the other cat.

Only in OB, baby.

Love it.


Anonymous said...

Haven't visited here in a while. That is awesome story telling -- nicely done. -Roger