Wednesday, September 22, 2021

OK, so he wasn't a good boy

Reynaldo's last photo, Tuesday night
 Reynaldo died this morning. We ended our time together as we often dozed off together: "holding hands." Ever since he was a kitten, he liked squeezing my finger between the pads of paws.

I loved him very much and I miss him enormously. My home feels desperately empty without him. But I cannot honestly say he was a good boy.

From where I sit I can see the gouges on the furniture as he jumped up where he didn't belong to knock items noisily to the floor.

When I get up in the middle of the night tonight (as I invariably will) I'll have to remind myself that it's now safe to flush. For if Reynaldo heard me, he'd come bounding into the bathroom to herald the dawning of the new day. He'd be so insistent that it was time for fresh water, breakfast, conversation and head rubs -- even if it was 3:30 AM -- that I was afraid to alert him.

I'll never again be frightened by a crashing sound from the kitchen. Rey would have to get up on the counter to knock down the drip tray from the George Foreman grill. There was salmon juice in there once. It could happen again!

The handled basket in the dining room? It's falling apart. Why? Because if he was bored and I wasn't paying attention to him, he'd slither across the dining room table and knock it over. I'd yell at him and he'd stare at me, eyes bright. Any attention was good attention to Reynaldo.

The photos I once displayed are now in a box because he turned the frames into cat toys. I got tired of cleaning up the glass and then replacing them.

To the world, he was my cat. But he and I knew the truth: we were roommates. He never fully accepted me as the alpha. We were equals. What I considered "naughty," he regarded as his only response to my bad behavior.

But he was endlessly affectionate. He literally loved my face. He would gaze at me, nuzzle my ear. He often reached for me, touching me with a white paw, just to reassure himself that I was here and I loved him. 

And when confronted by all the unconditional love, I could not stay angry. So I learned to be patient. I learned to accept. That was Reynaldo's gift to me.

He wasn't a good boy, but he was my perfect buddy.