Thursday, October 13, 2011
I've had "mice" for about fifteen years now. It started when a girlfriend thought they were cute. But they became the sound that made the bedroom seem less empty, the someone who came out when you tapped on their door. And they have so much more personality than you would expect. And yes, they are cute.
Cassie was a special little girl. She didn't have a lot of quirks like some of the others. She didn't get addicted to pepsi or chocolate morsels; she wasn't the one who immediately climbed up your sleeve. She was just... sweet. Despite the demands on my time and my careless disregard for spending time with her, she was always right there when I did come to see her. Just like we'd never been apart or away. Always gentle, never cross, always she acted as if I spent every day with her.
She was a sleep-talker. A couple hours before she'd get active, she'd always bark in her sleep. You wouldn't think a little guy like this could be so loud, but I've heard one bark from three rooms away when giving birth, so I know they have a voice when they so choose to use it. Cassie's time was just before the dream ended.
Cassie passed today, at the ripe old age of 22 months. The oldest survivor I had by a good 8 months. As I took her out to bury her, I remembered when my first, Brutus, died. I cried, my kids cried, their cousins cried. And then we ran out and got Butt-Head (not his long-forgotten real name, just what he ended up being called). Tears have become harder to come by as the years went on; not because of lack of nearness and dearness, but the jadedness that comes by being able to look at a calendar and know it was coming.
Cassie surprised in this instance, living so much longer than her predecessors. And yet, the tears did not come. I took her still little form out behind the shed and matter of factly buried her. And then I came in and took a shower. I thought about what I would be typing right now, and I thought about the last time I held her. Four days or so ago- and for the first time in her life, she nipped me. Not meaning to, but I know what it meant, I'd been there before. "My body is sore, and tired. I'm sorry. But my time is almost here." I rejected the thought as quick as I could, somehow hoping that continued denying her mortality would prevent her death. But we both knew, as only someone who can look past the pretense in your soul can know.
I truly don't know that she will be the last. I'll be asking my beer that on and off all night, I expect. But for all the characters, all the tiny little personalities, hers would be a good way to go out. Sorry, I just don't have a good way to end this. I don't have the grim news voiceover tone saying, "Cassie Hamster, dead at 22." But I have a beer. Perhaps it will have an idea...