Bye Speckles.

In Adventures with Jenko on February 10, 2011 at 5:50 am

Dear Grandma:

I know a letter is somewhat formal, but you used to write them to me all the time, so I’m simply returning the favor. As you know, Speckles has been living with my parents since you passed away. I never told you, but when you passed away, I hated that cat. Now, I know that “hate” is a very strong word. And I’m sure I didn’t actually “hate” the cat at all…but to me…8 years ago…when you passed away…

It just wasn’t fair. Your cat was 15 years old at the time. She was well past her nine lives…and you…

You were young. It wasn’t fair. I wasn’t ready to lose you. When Speckles outlived you, I was livid. As the years went by, the cat grew on me. At some point, she lost her hearing. When she lost her hearing, we had to be extra careful when backing cars out of the driveway, because she used to snuggle up against the tires. I never told you this story, but one day, I was in a hurry trying to get Kurt to hockey practice on-time, and I forgot to check under the car for her…

And I ran her over.

I ran Speckles over…

And she lived.

The damn cat not only out lived you, but she outlived my moment of sheer stupidity. I couldn’t bring guys over to the house after that day, because mom and dad liked to embellish the story by saying, “Erika hated the cat so much that she ran it over with the car.” Not true, grandma. I swear, I just forgot to look.

Anyway, Speckles is now 23 years old. She lives in the house on a plush bed next to the fireplace. She orders around her minions who wander around on 4 legs. You’d be impressed by her….at least I was…

I came home from rehearsal tonight, and before my dad finished the sentence, I knew what had happened. Speckles was put down tonight. She was barely hanging on, and she wasn’t doing too well. As much as I hated that cat for outliving you, I realized that I never really hated her at all. Quite the opposite actually. She was the only living thing that truly reminded me of you. Something I could see everyday, and without realizing it, she was somehow consistently keeping you in my life. I’ve had a hard time letting you go, grandma. I wrote a 3-woman show a couple months ago, and you’re one of the main characters. It was the first time I was able to mourn your death…even though it was 8 years later. That silly cat was a prop from your life. A prop I could keep in mine. A prop that wasn’t a note you wrote me tucked away in the piano bench in the living room…the notes I run across “by accident” all the time to feel like you’re still around. The cat was real….not like the pieces of furniture from your house that hit me like surprise attacks every time I walk past them in my parent’s house. What I’m trying to say is, I miss you. I still do…and please send Speckles my regards. Love you.


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