Monday, May 16, 2011

Le Chat Noir - In Loving Memory of Tom

My name is Tom.

I never really knew which family breed of cats I came from, but that didn't really matter to me much as long as I was still popular with the lady felines. Le Chat Noir they would call me. Of course my family doesn't know this. They think I'm a house cat. Technically I am. But hey, le chat noir has to keep the ladies happy. In my younger days of course. So don't judge. See, I'm 21 years old now. That's maybe a century for a human. If there were a cat Guiness Book of World Records for the longest living cat, I would definitely qualify.

Right now, I'm in a really bright room. It smells of chemicals here. I can't move. More because of the pain in my body. I see Michel through the window. He looks nostalgic, and sad. I may be just a cat, but I kind of sense that this will be the last of my nine lives. I want to get up and reassure him like I always do. Tell him it's going to be okay. But I can't move. Damn this pain! Maybe this is for the better. Am I ready?

Lying here gives me time to think. I do that a lot now at my age. It doesn't hurt as much when I'm not moving about. All I can think about are memories of my life with my family.

When I was younger, I loved to climb about and explore. The house seemed like a treasure trove to me! There were corners, and little spaces behind doors, under the beds, between the covers - countless places I found that made a good hiding place. Ideal for a kitten like me back in my days. There was a huge balcony filled with fresh flowers, and birds would perch themselves on the balcony rail. Another one of my favourite places. I think I was born with a fascination for these creatures of the air. They walk funny, they talk funny, they even look funny. The fat ones are the easiest to chase. They're so clumsy it must be hard and tiring for them to carry that fat body around with those tiny flappers. Chasing them off the balcony rail has become somewhat of a hobby and pleasant pass time for me. I could do that all day and before you know it, it's lunch time!

Lunches are great! So are dinners. There's salmon, ham, and sometimes leftovers from the table when Julien comes for dinner. I don't know when, but it was probably during this period that I developed an indescribable liking for PIZZA. Ah, pizza, the small of bread, tomato, bacon, cheese, and the occasional egg. All these individual ingredients are great alone. But combine them together and I'm whisked into a world of wonderous ecstasy.

I like Julien. He's a nice kid. We grew up together in the same house and spent a lot of time together in our childhood. I like being around him. When he was sad about something, or angry, I'd go up to him and tell him it was going to be alright. No one usually comes round him when he's upset. He doesn't allow anyone around him, except me. I think he understands me. We have some sort of affinity with one another. Then one day, he went off and never came home for a long time. I thought I'd never see him again. Now I'm blind and deaf, but my nose never takes a holiday. I could smell Julien in the house last Christmas. Could he really be home? I asked myself. Then he stroked me with his big warm hands, and I knew he was. He's back! Now I'd spend the rest of my life with him like old times. Truly the best day of my life, and one of the many great memories I would take with me.

Everytime I'm with my family, I don't feel like a cat. I did everything they did. I ate what they ate. I slept on their beds, sometimes I'd go under the covers when it's cold. When I feel like reflecting, I'd sit on the couch. They made me feel like I was one of them. Like family. And that, to me, is what we are. Still. Sure there were times when I misbehaved in my youth. Like any teenage cat, I once peed into Julien's school bag just because it was fun. Also because I was all alone at home that day and I didn't like that. I felt bad afterwards, and tried to tell him. But he wouldn't listen. He carried that bag to school that day. Wonder how his day went. Other times, I get grouchy, especially when I'm hungry. Sometimes, I'd claw Elizabeth just to show my displeasure. I like Liz. She's a very harmonious lady of the house, who seems to always know what I want. That's why I am only comfortable to show my displeasure to her. A really good cook too - I've tasted her salmons.

Another one of my favourite pass-times, is to sit on the leather couch in the living room. It's a huge place - the living room. Sometimes Michel reads there, and I love to sit by him while he's reading, listening to the clock tick. It calms me. I like calm, quiet places. Which is maybe why I enjoyed going to the countryside so much when I was a wee kitten. I do remember a big field of flowers and the smell of fresh grass was everywhere. What a complex, yet delicious mix of smells. I was so engrossed with my new environment and new smells that my nose was detecting with every step I took; a flower, some grass, another flower, the moist scent of dew, the earth beneath my paws. It wasn't too long that my nose had caught on this foreign scent. I sniffed harder, and searched the ground with more vigour. Suddenly, the sky went dark. The air grew warm, and a bad smell started to linger. I slowly looked up, curious to know where the sun had gone, and came face to face with a huge ugly creature. It was massive and it smelt really awful. I didn't know what it was, but I do know I didn't want to be someone else's food. So I cautiously back tracked, my gaze firmly locked onto the towering figure before me. One step, two steps, three steps back. When I was far enough, I turned and bolted! My heart beating so hard against my chest I thought it was going to punch itself out of my body. Never again. I told myself.

Right now, I'm in a lot of pain and I can't move. There's this cold wave flushing through my body. Funny enough, I don't feel scared. I feel calm, and at peace, almost relieved. And tired. Yes. I feel tired. Like I haven't slept in ages. Ironic for a cat, since I sleep most of the time. I think I should close my eyes and rest. Yet I don't want to. Somehow, I know that if I fall asleep now, I may never wake up. I want to call out to Michel. I see him by the window, looking at me with such a longing gaze. Almost as if he was saying goodbye. Is this really goodbye? I want to call out to Michel, but I'm too weak to speak. I hope he'll know. I hope they'll all know - my family......

That it's going to be alright. That I have lived a full, good life. Yes. I am ready. I may not wake up from this sleep, but what I can leave this family with - my family, is my honest love and my eternal gratitude. I am the happiest cat alive.



1 comment:

Michel said...

Dear Tom, I knew for long that you were not an ordinary cat. I also guessed that you were able to share our thoughts and feelings. But I did not know that you were such a good writer. Your words almost moved me to tears. I sincerely hope that you rest in peace, where you are now. I shall never forget you!!! Salut Tom (aka Pépère).