Darling Boy was what my neighbour Carol used to call Freddy. I don’t know where he took his lessons, but boy did he know how to schmooze. My candle is lit and in the window. I am thinking fond thoughts of the Darling Boy, and smiling at some of his naughtiness. it’s a long way and twelve years from the heartbreak I felt twelve years ago. It’s true, time does heal. You don’t forget, but it ceases to hurt quite so much. Whereas in the early days I kept thinking about his last days, remembering the fit that preceded his death, my panic, shock, guilt that I hadn’t been able to do anything to save him, now I remember the years he lived with me, the way he could make me smile, laugh on even the bleakest day; the way he blinked his eyes at me, followed me about until I sat down so he could climb on me; how he accepted being taken to das Boot and coped with my initial and ongoing incompetence, then behaved as though he had been on boats all his life.
I think yesterday I wrote about cats being companionable, but there’s more to it than that. Cat/Freddy taught me things about myself, things I needed to know. He had expectations of me, expectations I met. that he chose to live with me felt like I had passed some sort of test. He endorsed me. He endorsed my friend Vicky when she was at a low point. He was our sponge when we were working together in a deeply dysfunctional workplace. I came home and decanted my woes to him while he lay on the floor and I brushed him. Vicky’s husband grew tired of hearing much the same from her, so she would come here, and while I cooked, she’d offload to Freddy. He never said “You should..” or “Why don’t you…?” He just lapped up our attention and let us get rid of all this stuff. It sounds strange, but he taught us we mattered. Or maybe he allowed us to understand we mattered at a time when we were not sure we did.
That all makes him sound very supine. He wasn’t. He had opinions which he wasn’t afraid to share. Had he been human, I am fairly sure our politics would not have aligned. Mind, having said that I think he would have despised Boris Johnson and Donald Trump as shallow fakes. He could show empathy, and be sensitive when I was low in spirits. When I was unwell he appointed himself Chief Nurse, at least for the first day. After that I could tell he was bored with the whole thing and possibly suspected I was malingering.
He had many admirers. He was beautiful. Ridiculously Handsome Boy was what I called him. Simply looking at him was a pleasure. His markings were almost symmetrical, though his front legs weren’t. One was white, the other ginger striped. Just looking at him was a pleasure. He loved the attention of neighbours and passersby. He loved me and I loved him. He was my Darling Boy.
He looks a lovely boy indeed you are so lucky to have known him
I was indeed lucky, and my luck has continued with the wonderful MasterB!
This was a lovely piece to read – and then to re-read – but since then: silence. I do hope all is well, Isobel, with both you and Master B?