Sunday, December 30, 2012

In Memory of Henri

She teaches art so when she named her kitten ‘Henri’, her students just assumed his name was spelled with an ‘i’ as in Henri Matisse, the French artist. 

 I never met Henri. He hid when I visited her place in Colorado Springs. I know he had a feline buddy, Lola, and a canine buddy, Cai, a Welsh Corgi. And Jenn, my friend, the one who fed him and cleaned his litter box. 

 Henri died the other day. 

 I cannot imagine losing one of my cats. 

They’re not dogs – creatures who come running and wagging when you enter your home. They might come. They might not. The occasional welcome is a grand occasion. 

They don’t do tricks. They will chase toys. Or not. Depending. When they do, it is enchanting. 

They make trouble. Occasionally knocking over a vase. Too often scratching upholstery. Stealing snacks from forbidden counters. 

And they are rude -- wandering, uninvited and without averting eyes, into the bathroom. 

Still. When the world overwhelms me and one of my cats climbs onto my lap (or shoulder) and I stroke his softness, feeling the responding purr, I am comforted, soothed. And when the other unexpectedly pounces out from behind a door, I laugh, delighted. 

To lose one such creature -- a being from an entirely separate species-- who places his whole being in your hands with absolute trust – is to lose a part of your heart. 

 So my friend mourns Henri. And I understand.

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