It's funny how death can turn your life upside down. On Thursday, January 7th, my beloved 12-year-old cat Willy was put out of his misery. Want to start up a flare? There's an idea.
For days beforehand, I did my share of crying, and a bit more. Willy had been the most constant earthly thread in my life since 1997. Big, black King Willy. He was my friend and my comfort, and a very good boy.
Next morning, I went into town for my weekly date with myself at the cybercafé. After coffee and a bit of half-hearted work, I stopped by the vet to thank him again for the kind help he had given the night before, driving all the way out to my house so Willy could die at home. Dr. Jose was out visiting a sick dog, so with the ten minutes I had to wait I wandered around the dismal pet store that always seems to be attached to a Mexican veterinary practice.
Mexican pet stores are heartbreaking affairs. Piles of cages filled with discarded animals line the walls. These are the lucky ones, because kind people feed them, but it's not a sight for the fainthearted. Normally, I avoid these stores like the plague, but my heart was broken. I idly scanned the wall to see who I could pet, for both our sakes.
My eyes roamed past countless chickens and rabbits and a lump of sleeping puppies to a little black hair ball all alone in a cage. I couldn't see a head so I gently poked.
"It's dead," I said to the clerk.
"No, no," he said, and handed me this:
Meet Lucy. She walked into my house on January 8th and took over my life. She fits in a teacup, sleeps on my head, and isn't afraid of anything.
When God has plans for you, there's really no way out. I knew He wanted me to move on. I asked only that it be black and lovable.
It was the darnedest thing.