I got a text from Celie not too long ago, around 5p, while I watched whatever reason has me trying to justify my newly spent 9 bucks a month for Netflix (Sweet Tooth is worth the justifying by the way, at least for now).
It was timed 8:15 am. I got it at 4:53pm though I didn’t note the time at first, it was a just a text.
Celie: Just in case you are going anywhere Shark is under your car
(Celie would eventually mention to me that she didn’t understand my response, I told her that I didn’t realize the text had been sent 9 hours earlier but didn’t arrive until then and I also didn’t know Shark was gone)
Not too much later when I actually did note the time of the text I remembered a morning.
I had gone downstairs to throw my once a week in the washer while Cele, who was there with the gang, made a point to not allow me to fold what was done in the dryer of her and Matt’s stuff.
Celie: You don’t need to do that … grab, grab, grab.
Me: But I actually like folding clothes, it’s ok (I really do like folding clothes)
Celie: It’s good …. grab, grab, grab
It almost makes her mad I think so I cut whatever could be losses and let her grab, grab, grab.
I then threw my one stuff set in the washer and stepped into the kitchen around a barking Louie and a bouncing Chi Chi and slumbering others, sorry, a slumbering others AND a Georgia back flop belly wait.
“Aaaaahhh, love ya Georgia, but ya gotta stop this back flop belly thing girlfriend. I’m an old dude and all this bending for belly rubs every time can only go so far.”
Amid the bouncing of a Chi Chi and way too loud barking of a Louie, a Honey Bob Tail “Boo” stepping over some chairs towards me and Florida’s unmistakable meow and seeming reticence to but wanting a pet anyway, Sharky came about my feet with some light huffing and a head turn. I picked her up for an under ear shoulder.
Not too long ago Shark had come to aging with an abscess of some type in her forehead, a one Celie and the Doc down the hill at the shelter drained as often as they could but eventually was faster than the drains leaving her with a somewhat quasimodo looking noggin. It was an indicator of bad things and soon short days. But in these short days she had taken to front porch breezes or grabbing spots under cars and trucks and behind tires in our parking spot.
Earlier in the week
Celie: “Keep an eye for shark before you head to work. She can’t really hear now and I’m not sure how much she can see with this thing either.”
“Will do” I said and did do with bending’s down behind BB replete with old man sounds and breaths just before each head off.
Celie said she may be saying goodbye to Sharky today. The prettiest of Calico cats, a one who looked like an animatronic doll, with a just so head tilt and eyes the envy of any anime character.
One of my greatest pleasures in this place has been feeding the cats on occasion, slowly talking to them all as I putzed about old man like in someone else’s kitchen, confirming crazy cat lady guy status and shooting Celie a text eventually that said “cats are good”. Covid changed that as we all distanced but Sharky, then, was my assistant chef, a hop up on the counter and a face in the big bowl I would use for mixing a couple of cans of wet stuff with some dry and a bit of water. That’s where her name came from according to Matt, her ravenousness as if she had never eaten before. She was a “you’re not helping Shark” as she moved under my hands at the sink’s sponge with a bowl or two to wash. She was my nose to forehead in this sponging wet hands only wanting to finish and then see the dole out of food, cat noses down.
There’s been a number of goodbye’s in my 3 + years here. Blue, Bruce, Chubs, Bunny, Dolly, Lola, Spanky, Sweets the Fox (I try not to think about that one as that will just bring torrents) all who I called friend with a shoulder ride and a behind the ear like Sharky now. Well not Blue, not that he wouldn’t have liked the attempt I’m sure, but he wasn’t a cat and was a big boy. Nor Sweets, a skittery giggling backyard Susan of a Fox who minded me with a little distance, closer with my handful of the wet raw stuff on mornings when Celie wasn’t around.
But Sharky was part of the lot of my kitchen cat shoulders, usually the place to just distract her away from the under hands attempt at that bowl wash or two or a face in the big bowl.
Celie: Sharky is no longer with us.
Me: Sigh. Dammit.
She’s gone now though and not to some mystical place with paws across a mythical bridge to help us feel better, no, she’s just a life lived well that finds its end. I’ve lost my Grayson and lil’ kit Blink in my time here as well as the rest. Lost friends you can’t ease with thoughts of rainbows no matter how much you try.
You remember singular things. Grayson on the fridge top swiping at your head or a walking around this place talking to himself, Blink plopped down on a pile of newly dried laundry to a quick “oh cool, laundry … Ok I’m out … zzz”, Blue in his intimidating big chested look to run over to BB like a puppy at your get homes, Dolly and a Broadway “Hello” song in your head, Chubs and prairie dog stand ups waiting for that night’s can crack, Bruce, the most Lebowski of cats, with a Billy Idol looking smirk frightening the dogs merely with his presence, especially Pea who would tap and bounce and whine and growl at him as he blocked a doorway, scared to death, Bunny and that one bent ear that loved a bit of a rub, Lola who owned you and reminded any that needed reminding of that with a pop, Spanky in her littleness but determined “I’m here with the big ones”, Sweets playing with a then Georgia puppy in the mornings and, well, just the magic that was Sweets the Fox … and Sharky as my assistant as I imagined myself some sort of cat food chef only needing a crack sound and a spoon for the preparing.
I took her on my shoulder under ear out the back porch to the pool for a sit and she grabbed a spot under one of the bushes that sit poolside. There was sun and a breeze, a light thing, but a breeze. She layed down under the bush’s shade. I swear if she could have …
C’mon Shark hop up, yes I know, it’s big bowl time. Can ya give me a hand?
You could say a Picture is worth a thousand purrs huh?