I can’t bear it. The thing I hate most about life, is death. The thing that makes me want to die, is dying. You can’t fire me because I quit, and so on.
Not my death—I don’t care about that. Other deaths terrify me.
All other creatures are fragile and terrifying—when I was a kid I’d walk from room to room, making sure my brother and sisters were breathing while they slept.
My cat, I have had, for 20 years, and she’s slightly older than that. Or was. Today I put her is a shallow muddy hole, wrapped in a scarf from Jerusalem, because I couldn’t stand the thought of her being taken out with the weekly batch of pets and dumped in a collective grave, and because I have friends kind enough to give me a place to put her.
I despise euphemism, and don’t know what to call it when you take a shivering black ball of hair to a vet to be killed. I’ve been calling it execution, as befits a queen. They call it euthanasia, as befits vets.
I have spent 24 hours wrapped up with her cold quivering body—mewling when she was too far from a heat source. I have spent a week injecting her with saline, and checking on her in an orchid-heated room. I have spent years with her: she has been to more countries and joined more conversations than most humans.
The world is colder, and I stopped crying once she died. More or less. And now I don’t really care, because I am dissociated as hell and could pull my skin off and I’m not sure it would feel anything but windier. Cleaning helped, I threw out everything. All the cat things, litter boxes, bowls, floor pads for her final weeks, food, needles, medication, saline, the carrier, and so on, because I don’t plan to have another animal. Some people consider themselves ‘cat people.’ I am not a cat person any more than I am a music person, or a person person: I like some cats, some music, and some people. But I don’t care about cats, I just love my cat.
Rebecca and I and the Cube went to the vet and watched them fill her with a pink poison. I buried her in the corner of a yard while Nick shot off a BB Gun and Rebecca said kaddish. I came home and started to work, not to avoid my feelings, but to avoid my prickly body. Sitting in the middle of a deflating air-mattress, moving my things back to the proper room, unplugging heaters, and sweeping floors. The house is emptier, and so am I.