Later than late
Nobody ever told me that death could be sincere. Probably because nobody who had ever talked to
death has ever lived to tell the tale (Well, there is Jesus and probably Dracula… but let’s not go there now). I didn’t die to find out if death was sincere. In fact, I didn’t die at all. But she did. And her death? It wasn’t the beautiful kind that we see in movies, for there was no prince to hold her corpse tight and never let go, no tears to cleanse her still body, no hands that she grabbed on as she battled between the two worlds of flesh and eternity, no warm bed to carry her away without her ever knowing, no grave of snow, no box of glass and no roses of sorrow. Nothing! (…that counts, I mean). As I stood by, watching her die, I wondered if death could be sincere. I knew I could not ask life; He only speaks to her and not me. The first day I saw her; It was an afternoon… probably on one of the week days for I was back from school tired and hungry. And she was at our
shop with my mom. My mother, the psychic, didn’t even take one look at my face to know what I was up to.
“You will not touch this one”, she said, “or I’ll send her away”. Exactly like last time I thought; and walked away like I never cared. Little did I know, that one day, I would mean what I said.
But still, who would have thought, that that “one day”would turn out to be “the next day”. You see, the next morning I woke up early just to see her face. It was easy to get past mom, because after all… she IS a mom and dad was asleep so the only other challenge was befriending the stranger. And what a stranger she was: Her white hair as soft as fur, her oversized head buried between her arms, so small and soundly asleep. I woke her up. It was nice to see the grey of her eyes which, at that moment were overshadowed by her full pupils. She looked up at me: showing anything but fear. As I returned her gaze, I noticed a little brown scar behind her ears. How beautiful she was! My fingers ached to touch her. I wanted to call her but I didn’t know her name.
So with a language that was no language at all, I asked her to come to me, all the while secretly and excitedly waiting for her to turn me down. Only she didn’t; In fact, she came at me with open
arms and a smile that reached up to her eyes: which was weird because she WAS the stranger in the house. Those same fingers of mine that wanted to touch her so much curled in hesitation. But she didn’t see that, she never did and now, she never will. I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel sorry about that. I am afraid I had stopped liking her from the very moment I saw in her eyes that whoever I was, I was welcome to be her friend. Her trust was for everyone and her love for free. She presented no challenge. And if it wasn’t for her constant and regular noisiness, everybody would have forgotten she was there. But God! Was she noisy! Every morning, whenever there’s someone at the door, wherever there’s a package and at all meal times; there she was, screaming at the top her lungs in a high pitch stingy voice and in such an in-human language that nobody bothered to fathom as more than a plea for food. Soon enough my dislike turned to hatred. Probably because of her noisiness and even more so because she never listened to me. Except for that cursed day: when I chose not speak and for once in her life she chose to listen. It was the time of the day we released the cage monster (which by the way was my 16 months old German-shepherd dog) for a walk. As I opened the door for him I wondered if she was to be his third kill. I wondered if he was the only way to stop all the noise and sinuses she was giving us.
And right before going back to the movie I was watching, I called out to her silently, in my head.
“Come out cat” I said, “come out and meet your undeniable destiny”
A minute later, I decided that I didn’t want her dead, I only wanted her gone. I have never thought that there was such a thing as punctuality when it came to making wishes. But that doesn’t matter now. Because that day, that very minute, the cage monster had grabbed on to her and
did what it was best known for: Biting the life out of cats. When I came out running after being alerted by mom, I found her in a tree. It didn’t look too serious to me then. So I simply took her down and put her in a box. She stayed there for the following five days. Only moving when she wanted water, the only thing her wrecked body seemed to accept. On the fifth night, I felt her curl beside my legs. I didn’t know how she made it to the living room. I simply looked at her and thought, ‘Wow! She is going to survive and quite probably, she’ll be less noisy’. I put her back in her box for the night. She spent the next morning curled in the sun while still in the box.
I have no reason to think that it was me who killed her; for I am no witch and she, my imaginary friend. In fact we were only two creatures who were always screaming at each other; never listening to what the other has to say. And yet, when I decided not speak and she chose to listen to my silence, she lost her life. On the afternoon of the sixth day, as I was passing by I saw her move her head. Despite the fact that she was no longer a kitten, her head still seemed oversized to me. We stared at each other for a long time before I realized she was dead. Then it came up on me. All the wrong I’ve done; that I hated her just because I didn’t have to do anything to win her love, that I was angry because she didn’t’t show me that I was someone special, that I was too late to wish her a second chance. I realized that in her final moments, she chose to look at me. She chose to
carry one last memory of me with her throughout eternity. And for the first time in my life, I listened to her… in her death. Then I wrote this, in memory of the cat I never named.