Friday, June 6, 2008

Somewhere in the Chinese Wilderness

Dear Padme,

You have now been missing for over a month. Once the parents moved from the cramped 15th floor apartment in funky downtown Sanya, to their fancy new beach cottage on Yalong Bay, you hightailed it out into the surrounding nature. And I can't blame you really. You hadn't been able to eat grass in 7 months! Although you're a really prissy cat, you do love roughin' it. Last summer when we moved into a smaller townhouse less than a mile from the old house, you spent the first couple days hidding in mom's closet until you garnered all your courage to sneak outside where you stayed for 4 days straight. We called your name from the porch every morning and night, hoping you'd return. And you did. Covered in travellers and smelling like a wet towel.




It was Thanksgiving weekend of my senior year in High School and my Meme Suzanne was visiting us for the holidays. I had been aching to get a cat, but since I'd be going to college in a few months, it didn't seem to make sense to my parents. I understood their position but couldn't get the thought out of my head. Now my Meme Suzanne is the one repsonsible for getting me my first cat when I was a kid. A guy on the corner of Monoprix in Pithiviers had some kittens in a box and Meme let me pick one out and then forcibly pay the man 10 francs, even though he was just happy the kitten had found a home. My parents were quite surprised with the new acquisition, but no one questions my grandmother. With Mem in town and my mom having suddenly developed a love of taking our labrador Nelly to Petsmart, I knew the time was right. I can't honestly say why I choose you of all the cats available that day. You were hidding in the corner of a pen with your mother and brother and we were told that you had been found on the side of the highway. I'm not sure I even held you before making my choice, but you were so little, beautiful and afraid of everything, that I knew you needed my help.



You had already been named by the kind people at the shop and although you might look like a "Daisy" you had a bit too much attitude to pull it off- which is a good thing really. Your coy looks and superior demeanor led to your name being chnaged to "Padme Amidala"- regal and feisty- and completely nerdy. My dad couldn't wrap his head around it so he refered to you as "notepad" for the first year of your life. Once you settled into your new home, you developed a deep love for the family dog, Nelly. While she laid on the landing, you would carefully sneak up and try to nuzzle her. For some unknown reason, Nelly never reciprocated your love openly. She would immediately walk away or violently shift if she ever noticed you being affectionate. You might even chase after her a bit but always had to fall back quickly in order to preserve your image. But if anyone were to turn on the stairway light in the middle of the night, we knew we would find the two of you snuggled up together- until Nelly noticed that someone was watching- then she had to get up and move quickly in order to preserve her image.



When I lived at home you were really my cat. Long after everyone else in the house had gone to bed, I would take my daily shower and I could always count on you to be leaning against the bathroom door and when I opened it you would give me a look of: "what took you so long? I fell asleep waiting!". You would then rub against my bare legs as I made my way through the dark house back to my room. You always beat me back and would leap onto my high sleigh bed and use the footboard to inch your way closer to my face, wanting nothing more than to rub your drooly little mouth all over my clean cheek. Once I'm finally lying in bed trying to read, you simply cannot stand to be behind the book but insist that I either hold it above your head or not read at all. And this is your favorite option because then you can sit high atop me, with a smile on your face and your paw extended, gently clawing my mouth. And it hurts. But for some reason that's when you look happiest.




I could probably keep talking about your funny ways and adorable nature ad nauseum. You're a really great cat and I can only hope that you're on an amazing adventure right now- chasing far cooler creatures than the birds, rodents and grass snakes you had conqured in Virginia. If you ever need a good cuddle, I hope you know that Mom will be waiting for you- I'll just keep sending you the Schwartz (as we say in our family). I hope you're happy wherever you are and thank you for the time you spent with us. I miss you.


Love,
Claire


PS: Dad made me sign a contract before he would allow us to adopt you (because he's just that cool), stating that "As soon as I lived somewhere that would allow a cat, I was to regain total custody over you immediately". So I'm sorry I moved to the UK and coulnd't bring you with me out of college- but I didn't think you'd be happy living in a small flat either...

2 comments:

  1. That cat had attitude, I miss her

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  2. I read this post from time to time and cry.

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