Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday is... going to receive punishment.


I wish I could claim a different time zone… but I can’t. I’m late. Again, I say DANG IT.

So anyway… on with the blogging…

Casey: I agree whole-heartedly with your many HP scene references. Neville especially. I agree with Cassie (and probably everyone else) that he is the ballin’est of all. Which is also now a word : )

Christina: I also agree. The twins are about Numbers 1 and 2 on my favorite HP character list, with Neville not far behind. And Snape, and Lupin… Okay, yeah, good list!

Cassie: You are indeed a storyteller, and I feel honored to have read your depiction of your cousin Ethan. He sounds like a unique and important part of your life, and I’m glad you chose to share him with us.

Alexandra: Your story of Kris resonates with me. It’s hard to lose a friend, especially one who sits so close to our hearts. I hope you hear from her sometime, and I hope she’s doing well.

Like Alexandra, I have lost little in my life. I have lost three grandparents, but one was when I was pretty young, and the other two I never really knew. I have lost touch with friends, both intentionally and unintentionally. And I have gone through lots of distinct phases in my life that are no longer with me.

I’ve had a hard time deciding what to write about this week. I could write about my friend Eric who killed himself. Or about Valerie, my childhood friend with Down syndrome who died at 11 of leukemia. Or about Reis, who was the roommate of the (now) gay guy I dated my freshman year of college who dropped out after a semester due to mental health concerns. Or I could write about the religion I was raised with but no longer espouse, or friends I have chosen to cut ties with for various reasons.

But I think I’m going to do something different. I’m going to tell you about Ramone.

Ramone was a cat. When I was about 9, my mom took my sister and me to a farm about an hour away. When we got out of the car and started walking towards the barn, two tiny black kittens skittered across our path. We looked at Mom and knew: we were getting a kitten.

Once in the barn, Farmer Dan (honestly the man’s name, I tell you) showed us the kittens. There were just the two left, but my sister and I were enthralled by the little things. Seeing how much we adored the creatures, Farmer Dan told us to hold on a minute. He went into the house and came back out holding a black cat. It was full-grown, but about half the size of a normal cat and with a squished little face that looked like it had run into a wall at full tilt. Its name was Ramone, and it had been the runt of the last litter six months before. Farmer Dan told us that Ramone needed a good home, and threw in one of the littler kittens (whom we named Dart, and who lived for 9 wonderful years after that) for free once Mom decided that Ramone could come home with us. The two cats cost $2.50 each, once all was said and done.

Ramone was the most wonderful of cats. No matter where you were in the house, Ramone was there, ready to be picked up and flipped over and held like a baby, purring outrageously all the while. I slept on the top bunk in my room, and most nights I would be awakened by the sound of footsteps on my ladder—Ramone, of course, climbing up to sleep under the covers at my feet. Once, Ramone slipped and fell off the ladder; luckily, I caught a paw and hoisted a very frightened and grateful cat up to curl up with me.

When I was 11, I went with People to People to Australia. I missed my family, of course, and my friends, and familiar territory. But when I talked to my friends about what I was going to do first when I got home, my story was always the same: I was going to pick up Ramone and never let go. I loved that cat.

I got home from Australia on July 7, 2001. On July 8, Ramone started acting funny. On July 9, Ramone was clearly quite ill. On July 10, we took Ramone to the veterinarian. We were informed that, probably due to some congenital defect or disease, Ramone was a very ill cat—and, as a side note, was not the female cat we had assumed. We were cautioned that Ramone might not last much longer; that night, I cried harder than I ever have in my whole life, stricken through by the knowledge that I was about to lose my best little cat friend.

The morning of July 11, Ramone didn’t wake up.

We buried her in a shoebox in the woods behind our house, putting with her in the box a butter wrapper. She always loved butter… which was a little weird. But then, she always was a weird cat.

For several months after that, I’d have dreams every once in a while where Ramone would make an appearance. Unlike other dead-pet dreams I’ve had, Ramone’s presence was always welcome and calming—like the dream wherein she was inexplicably sitting on the kitchen counter when I came home from school, probably after eating an entire stick of butter, as she was unfortunately wont to do.

That is the story of Ramone the Cat. She was not meant for this world, but she was a shining gem of a little cat friend that will ever remain in my memory and in those of those who knew her.

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