Monday, January 24, 2011
I keep dreaming of Rocky. He was my cat that I found when I was eight and when he was a tiny black fur ball, hardly four weeks old. Someone had thrown him out a car window, and abandoned him in the summer heat. I heard a tiny cry, and found him in a green patch of leaves behind a bush. I don't know what it was, but somehow, on that day in Rockford Park, Delaware, hiding him from the park rangers, that little kitten--Rockford Soda-Pop Oreo-Cookie McCormick--moved something inside of me.
Because he was so young he hadn't learned a lot of vital things yet. I had to give him formula and teach him to walk up and down the stairs. In all reality, he was like my baby (much better than any doll I had ever had). He used to do the strangest things too. Whenever I came home from somewhere, I found that he had dragged all the clothes in my room down the stairs, leaving a trail of shirts and underwear from my bedroom across the house to the garage door. He would also cry the entire time I was in the shower. Sometimes he'd even stick his head in and look at me, crying until I came over to pet him. One time he even bit my finger and began to walk backwards, as if he was trying to pull me out of the shower. But I guess all this nostalgia doesn't mean much to many other people. I can't explain how he was, or why a cat could be as important to me as a person. And I guess it doesn't make much sense trying to explain it. But he was.
He ran away last winter right before a big snowstorm. He had never run away before; he went outside all the time, and he knew his way home. But it was different this time. He had been getting progressively sicker in the past two or so years. I think he knew he was going to die, so he ran off to make a nest somewhere where he could be alone. I guess the hardest part for me is that I never found him. There's a strange unrest within me not knowing what really happened. Maybe it seems stupid that it upsets me as much as it does, but there's no other way for me to feel. He was my little Rocky, poking his head out from the shoebox that was too big for him to sleep in, waiting by the door for me to come home from school, running down the stairs after being away from me for two weeks, crying somewhere in the house listening for my echo.