a cat in the present
May rain refreshes my spirits, though I worry about those sleeping out, and though my own sleep has been restless and broken.
Pressures, inner and outer, seem to come all at once. Is it this way for everyone, I wonder, and then think--well, of course it is, and look, you don't have an earthquake to contend with, and the buildings are staying up, and there hasn't been a tornado recently up here.
So things are stable.
But one of the cats in my life is very ill. My daughter's red/orange cat, who for a time stayed as part of the bookstore crew, perched on the computer monitor, greeting customers, breaking for the door and the road whenever a customer came in. Meatwad (daughter is a fan of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, what can I say) was low in energy last week, and my girl and her partner took the cat to the local vet. And over the weekend--after she called, fear in her voice, "he's breathing funny"--to an emergency hospital up north.
And now, here back at the bookstore, where I can watch over him pretty much constantly.
The diagnosis was pyrothorax. Pus building up in his chest, against the heart, against the lungs. The first x ray shows it, but the vet didn't notice. By the next day his lungs couldn't inflate.
So they tell us his chances are slim, and they tell us the treatments are very expensive. And yes, they are that--expensive. If the cat were old I'd have taken my dear daughter aside and said "well, maybe it is time". But this cat is young and a fighter and I raised a stubborn daughter, granting her my will, my sense of "you do not give up on what or whom you love. Not ever".
So we aren't giving up. "He could die any moment" says the vet today, after draining more from his chest. But he says, surprised, "his temperature is normal, and look, he's very active". And yes, he is.
So we insert the needles and hold the fluid, to keep him hydrated. And we offer food--all the treats, all the possible cat luxuries. And hour by hour, as he sits near me, I tell him stories.
He blinks his golden eyes.
I don't know if he's staying with us, though now and then I say "you know, after we pull you out of this you really have to live to be twenty or so".
I know that life doesn't make promises, not for the future. And my son Gabe has recently been musing on past, present, and future, coming up at last with his urgent message, which was--as he tugged at his father's sleeve to make certain he paid attention---"past, no. future, no. Only now. Only now."
Now, the red orange cat is curled in Sara's beautiful chair, by the brass library lamp MJ gave me, purring. The rain has stopped, but the air is soft. Now. Only now.