I live here in Omaha at home with Paco Keopanya and Snickerdoodle, my short-haired tiger-striped cat. Paco is my business manager, my housemate, and a kindred spirit who can make me laugh faster than anyone I know. He's a Laotian raised in Nebraska and 40 years younger than me.
My therapist told me that mourning my beloved Jack would be like walking along the edge of the ocean. Most of the time, memories would wash over my feet and disappear but every once in a while, the water would rise up and douse me.
Last night I went to bed in my big basement bedroom as usual, about 1 AM, and slept until 3 or so when a memory drenched me. I woke, got up, moved around, then realized I'd never get back to sleep without dropping a tiny white pill on my tongue. The pill disintegrated, I turned on some classical music, and crawled back in bed, breathing slowly and deeply.
Then I heard something. Paco, I thought. He typically gets up about 4 to go to the gym and work out. It was only 3:45, but what else could it be?
The noise got louder. It sounded as though he were dragging something across the floor. Jeez, I thought. It's not like him to make so much noise. What the hell's he doing? I waited for him to open the garage door and get in his truck, but he didn't leave the house.
All of a sudden I feared that something was terribly wrong. I leapt out of bed, wobbly from the pill, lifted the edges of my nightgown so I could run up the stairs, and blasted the lights on. I ran all around the first floor. Paco's door was closed and no light shown under it, so he must still be sleeping. I peered out the window at the still-black night but saw nothing. I turned off the lights and went back down stairs, deeply puzzled. I knew I'd heard something, but what?
I walked around downstairs and saw the trash can in my basement kitchen lying on its side on the floor. What? Then I noticed that the big box that once held kitty litter but now holds Snicker's dry food was missing. I found it around the corner on the floor.
Goodness! She must have been intent on raiding her food box. I looked at her dish. Half full, as usual. So she couldn't have been hungry. Of course, the food in her box is fresher than the food in her bowl. Or then, knowing Snicker, maybe she was just bored.
I picked up after her, went back to bed and slept this morning until 10.