The Empty Space
She’s gone a couple of days now so I’m not greeted by her loud complaining as soon as I walk in the front door. Home is quiet and there is less clutter than usual around the place. In the kitchen I switch on the kettle and make a note to get rid of any of her stuff that’s still lying around the place.
I drink tea in peace and contemplate the future without her regular nagging and occasional affection. There is no doubt that life will become less expensive and less messy in many ways. Her refusal to eat anything but the most expensive foods went from an amusing little affectation to an alarmingly large chunk out of my weekly wages. Not that she ever knew or cared about that. Like many she was all about me, me, me. She wouldn’t have cared if it was being stolen at great personal risk so long as the appropriate dishes were laid before her. Apart from her good looks the selfishness was pretty much her defining feature and yet, I never begrudged her the money or the hassle. Somehow, on some level, I clearly also got something from the relationship and it all worked out. It worked out in fact for over thirteen years. She grumbled and ordered me about and I, in turn did what I was told usually when I was told to.
Until this year.
This year it all started to get a bit too much. Things weren’t as smooth as they once were and the grumpiness became louder, more constant and about smaller and smaller things. A pillow not adjusted quite correctly or a dish not quite on time, even insufficient levels of entertainment provided on demand. The usual but all turned up a notch.
Eventually it got a bit too much and I knew that I had to act and put an end to the pain. My resolve though took a long time to catch up with my head and I procrastinated until the moment could be put off no longer.
I arranged for someone to remove her from my life. Paid to have her executed in fact. A quick painless death and then I walk away to carry on normally without any hassles.
So now, I sit here feeling guilty in this quiet house. Listening in vain for the sound of paws on the laminate floor and expecting imminently, the grumpy meow that won’t ever come again from a cat who climbed in my window on a cold, snowy night in December 2008 and never left. The arthritic hips could be helped but the not being able to eat or keep food down turned out to be a problem with no solution and so I said a last goodbye to my old, scraggy cat last Tuesday
And to the people who read this and think ‘It’s just a pet’, there’s no such thing as just a pet.
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