I am a huge animal lover, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read any of my Life with Pets* one-act plays. I mean, come on, at one point, I lived with nine cats and a dog, so if I didn't love them, that would have been the most miserable time in my life. Instead, it was awesome. I had six kittens running for me when I got home from work, a bouncing bulldog, and three adult cats who had various levels of excitement at my presence. There was also a flea-ridden, smelly pit bull that would frequently escape her chains and come visit me because I'd give her the affection she sorely missed. Before that, I kind of adopted a sweet ginger cat that hung around my rented house, and before that, I saved an abused kitten from a guy who never really wanted a cat, anyway. My parents raised me around dogs, and I took riding lessons and fell in love with a horse who was too big for my small frame. I couldn't imagine my life without them.
As of this moment, as I watch Battlestar Galactica, I have a little grey and white kitten sitting on the chair next to me, purring loudly, and his brother is curled up on a pillow in my bedroom. As much as I love them, every now and then, I feel a pain in my heart.
You see, this pain is the final push it took for me to tell Three I wanted a divorce.
When I left Columbia, SC, Three and I had agreed to split up the animals for the time being, under the assumption that we were getting back together once we'd had some time to reevaluate, to realize what we meant to each other. Against my advice, Three had decided to move out of the house and into an apartment, while renting out the house for some extra income as mine would be used elsewhere, so I figured that it would be easier for him to find a place if he didn't have a bunch of animals to pay deposits on. I couldn't take them initially, since I was going to be living with some friends, so when I found my place, I arranged to come get some more of my stuff and to pick up Mushroom and Ramses. Zola had already been taken to my parents' house**, and Bitsy had run away again. Bubbles, Tyrol, the Duke, and Princess Peach*** had been adopted out, so that just left Kitkat and Bina for Three to care for.
It was very difficult taking just Mushroom and Ramses, and I cried as I petted Kitkat and Bina, telling them I'd see them soon, still convinced that Three and I were just separating for a short time. My lovely friend Tim had agreed to watch the boys for me, so when Three told me that he'd found some friends to watch the girls, I felt pretty good about the situation. Whenever I talked to him, I asked about them, and he reassured me that they were fine, happy even. Looking back, I probably should have asked for pictures.
I don't remember what actually brought the topic up, but several months later, Three called me when I was at work, and we started discussing his new living situation. He was very evasive when it came to the topic of the cats, so I finally asked him what was going on. Then he admitted he'd given them to the humane society before he'd even moved into his apartment. I couldn't breathe. Kitkat was ten years old and a black cat, and Bina, while she was only seven, had so many dietary problems that I couldn't see anyone wanting to adopt either of them. What made it worse was that he had lied to me; I knew right then that he'd never had any plans on keeping them and that I'd missed my opportunity to take them with me to at least find them good homes up here in Louisville. This was just another example of how little he thought of me or what I care about, and I just lost it. I told him I wanted a divorce right then.
Granted, it was probably better for them in the long run to find homes other than being with him. Right now, he is living out of motels or in his car somewhere in Texas, and I can't say that I've noticed any changes in how he makes his choices. He is still saying the same things that he did when we were together, only this time, the statements seem to be disillusioned, like he's not able to believe himself any longer. It actually makes me incredibly sad because it makes me wonder if this is how it has always been, only now I see through the lies and swagger.
I still haven't looked at Petfinder in Columbia, although I've come close. I wonder what I would do if I ran across the two beautiful cats I love. Would I immediately call the shelter and tell them to hold them for me, that I was three states away but wanted my babies back? Would I contact the people I still know down there and ask them if I could send them the adoption fee money and keep them for a few weeks until I figured out how to get there? Or would I just cry and fall into a pit of depression, blaming myself for their situation? I'm not sure I'm ready for that, and I'm not sure I ever will be. Every now and then, I'll be playing with the boys and suddenly, Kitkat and Bina's faces will pop into my head. Ramses' meow is very similar to Bina's, and Mushroom likes to give kisses like Kitkat did, but it doesn't always take a reminder like that to trigger it. I was in the shower the last time, and I was brought to tears. I feel like I failed them and can only hope that they are in good homes that love them as much as I do.
* I'm not going to do any more of these for a while, if ever. It's just a bit too painful for me. I am going to keep up the page, though, because I want to remember them.
** A few months ago, I brought Zola back up to Louisville, but she had grown so accustomed to life with my parents and having someone around at almost all times. She wasn't eating and wasn't full of the same boundless energy that I was used to. Sure, she was older, but it wasn't that. My parents and I met up about halfway between Nashville and Louisville, and about an hour later, I got a call from my mother, and she let me know that Zola had scarfed down food like she hadn't eaten in months. She was home, and I knew then that I had made the right decision in returning her. I still miss her every day, but it is enough knowing that she is happy and healthy.
*** Princess Peach actually ended up being male, therefore a rare male calico. He is now named Mister Sassy Pants.