I’ve never told anyone this before; not when it happened, not since.
When I was 13 our cat had 9 kittens. They lived in a box in my sister’s closet. When they were about a week old, a visiting child took them out of the box and put them on the cold tile-over-concrete floor to play with them. They all got sick. One by one over the next week 6 of them died, one every day.
I cried myself to sleep every night for a year. More than 45 years later it’s still hard to think about.
Found out this morning that a dear friend and spiritual mentor died yesterday.
We were supposed to get together for lunch soon. I keep thinking about what we would have chatted about, how much we laughed when we visited.
Death is not, as many claim, a natural part of life. Death is unnatural, an enemy.
This space is too small to hold everything I believe about life and death and love and loss. I’ll just say I’ll miss him, and hope all the rest of you are happy and well.
I’d given up saving the situation. Yes, I knew, and I hadn’t told her. Yes, this Gertrude and Sam thing was my idea, and we’d blown it sky high. Yes, Darcy, I love you, and you hate me, and once again I’ve managed to destroy the best hope I had for any kind of salvation through a relationship.
She didn’t spit on me. She didn’t slap me. She didn’t even look at me. Or anyone else.
She just walked out, leaving the door swinging open as she went.
Sam started to follow her, but Millie held her hand and stopped her.
I don’t know how long I stood there, but after a few years of it, I left, alone, and took a cab home.
Made a stop on the way there and bought a bottle of Old Overholt.
No point buying something expensive when you can’t be sure any of it is going to stay down.
This is an excerpt from A Long, Hard Look.
To read the whole story, get your copy at Amazon