I cleaned the pet cage tonight. I carefully dumped out her soiled litter, soaked the plastic base in the bathtub. Wiped down the metal bars with vinegar and baking soda to control the fruit fly problem that was driving her nuts (and me).
Folded up her hammock to go in the laundry. Soaked her food bowls in dish soap. Discarded her crumpled up paper bags.
But I didn’t reassemble her cage tonight. The nook in my living room is empty and quiet. Her space.
Instead, I neatly stacked the shelves inside the base of the cage, stored the leftover bags of food and litter in the hollow of the cage, and replaced the wire. Dragged the cage over to the storage room, the room I only enter by the light of day.
Instead, I placed your stuffed companion toy with you, and wrapped you in your warmest hammock. And then I said good bye.
For the first time in over 7 years, there was no furry face waiting for me when I got home from work. No one sniffing my cooking with great interest. No one staring at me while I sat on my computer, longing for some attention. No one to chase after and scold for chewing on my furniture. But the holes in my sofa are still there, a constant reminder that you were my pet. You, and the furry friends who came before you, who lead the way.
Thank you Alice, Snuffy, Mulder, Scully, Moo, Dr. Zoidberg, Schmutzhaken, What?, Plachowski, Louder, Ümlaut, and Interrobang‽for the amount of time each of you chose to live with me. Now I have ot be strong without any of you around for company.