I woke up this morning. Thinking of you. I fell back to sleep. Thinking of you. I eventually awoke, crawled out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make my morning coffee. As I approached the living room, I expected to hear the familiar "thump" of your tail as you realized that your mama was awake and headed in your direction. But I didn't hear the "thump". And your bed set cold and empty by the fireplace.
I miss you, Kaya. I will miss you signally the end of my work day. I always knew that the work day was ending when you started bugging me for your walk. Around 4:30 every afternoon, you would start alerting me that “walk time” was fast approaching. You would whine, beg, plead, dance, walk away, march a loud, whiney lap around the house and return to my feet. And then do it all over again. Sometimes I would lose my patience and tell you that you had to wait. Most of the time, you were a good girl and would go sit on your bed and wait. Eventually, when I couldn’t take your sad face and dagger-shooting stare any longer, I would head to the bedroom to get my shoes. It was a mortal sin for me to stand up between 4:30 and 5pm without the intention of going to get my shoes (I learned that a long time ago). So, if your mama stood up from her desk after 4:30pm, you knew that you would be joyfully walking down Willow Lane in a matter of minutes.
Over the past few weeks, your afternoon walks were long. You often got tired on your walks and sat down. I sat down on the curb with you, rubbed your ears, waved at neighbors going home from work, and waited for you to regain your energy. Eventually, we would make it home. We would grab the mail and head inside to prepare your dinner.
You would hate me right now. You always hated it when I cried (my god, what a rough year and half you have had!). Friday, I was strong for you. I didn't want you to see me crying. As the doctor, pushed the deadly pink serum into your vein, I didn't cry. For you. I didn't cry until you were gone. Until the vet left the room. Then I cried. I cried a million salty tears into your golden brown fur. I cried until your papa said he didn't want to see you laying there anymore. He asked if I was ready to go. I said that I wanted to smell your ears one last time. I loved your ears. They were so soft and velvety. And they smelled like...well... they smelled like your ears! I lifted your ear and stuck my nose into the soft, pinky-white folds. And inhaled. Ah... Kaya ears! Your papa and I walked to the door. I turned and looked at you. I ran back to you and stuck my nose in your ear again. You were already gone, but your ear was still soft and warm.
As your papa and I got in the car, through tears, i said, "I have no one to run errands with me anymore." Through tears, he smiled.
You and I went everywhere together. I think that I will miss our weekly trips to the Farmer's Market the most. Each week, after my work day was over, your walk was finished and your dinner devoured, I would load you up, roll down the windows and we would head to the Farmer's Market. You sat in the car while I was inside picking out all of the wonderful things that we would eat throughout the next week. When I would return to the car, I would greet you through the open window, load up the car, return the cart, get in the car and then tell you all about the delicious food that I had just bought for us.
Liberté Greek Yogurt was one of your favorite things on our grocery list. It seems that you would always get excited when I grabbed a container of Greek yogurt from the refrigerator. You sat by me, vigilantly. Watching each spoonful as it disappeared into my mouth. When I was finished (I always left a good bit for you), I would hand the container to you. With one edge of the container securely in your mouth, you would delightfully run outside or to your bed so that you could enjoy your very own container of yogurt and the ecstasy of the sweet cream on your tongue (and nose).
You were always excited about almonds, too. It was one of our late afternoon snacks. I would eat two or three and then give you one. To be honest, I never really planned on sharing almonds with you (organic almonds are expensive), but I couldn’t open the almond jar without you hearing. I would try to quietly open the jar so that I wouldn’t have to share with you. But you heard every time and would come running into the kitchen where you would impatiently wait for a bite of whatever your mama was eating. Eventually, I quit trying to be sneaky about my almond snack time, and included you. That’s how it became a ritual of ours.
You don't know this, but i usually gave the ones that looked like rats had been gnawing on them to you. Certain things about the Farmer's Market made me nervous. In the past, I have arrived home from a Farmer’s Market shopping trip with containers of bug-ridden grains. Birds fly freely among the many rows of fruits and vegetables. I even spotted a cat (“A CAT!?! Where’s a cat?” you ask) in the wine section one time. So I, sometimes, was a little wary of the almonds whose skin was slightly scraped off in places. I knew you wouldn't mind. You ate cat shit for chrissake; eating an almond that could have been nibbled on by a rat was nothing to you.
Dear Kaya, what a rough week you had. Unexplained anemia, sudden seizures and then the dreaded gastric torsion. I hope you’re happy now. I hope you are with your bossy sister. I hope she’s licking your ears and you are moaning in ecstasy. I hope you have a big, nasty compost pile to pilfer for rotten heads of cabbage, blackened banana peels and slimy remnants of lettuce leaves. I hope you are peeing in a mountain lake. And sticking your head out of a car window. I hope you are dining on endless amounts of peanut butter, almonds, yogurt, chicken, and leftover cereal milk.
Thank you for being my friend for the past 11 years. You were a good one.
I miss you.
I love you, Kaya Boo.