On September 25, 2012, I pulled into my driveway later than usual. I emerge from my car, tired and ready to put the day to rest. Then I heard him. A bit freaked out, I run inside, but my curiosity got the best of me. He had followed me to the door and was meowing outside very loudly. I found a can of tuna and some water, then put them outside. “Ugh,” I thought. I had never grown up with any kind of pet. I had wanted one, of course, but my parents said they were too much responsibility. As an adult, I saw how my friends with pets had to seemingly shape their lives around their pets and was now thankful that I had never had to deal with any additional burden. Young single and free, y’all! Now this animal is meowing and pawing at the door of my free. I went to bed, half-hoping he would be gone in the morning, half-hoping he would greet me before I left for work.
Y’all already know.
As you can see, Tiger is not a fan of the flash. He turned out to be very friendly, which, from what I understood, could be unusual for a cat. I loved coming home each day and Tiger would be waiting, in front of the garage. “Where’s my dinner,” he seemed to say. I gave him food and love and became attached to him quickly. I soon learned that Tiger liked to roam, for one day a few weeks later, I didn’t see him. The next day, I didn’t see him. The day after, he returned like nothing happened. I was so relieved! I suppose he wanted to condition me because it took me a few more times before I stopped freaking out whenever he went on one of his trips.
This past week, I hadn’t seen him for a while. I never was sure where or what he was eating, but he always looked well when he returned. Off to my family reunion I went, knowing that my cousin was going to take care of him and make sure there was food out. Not seeing him last night, unmoved, I went to bed.
“Joan. Tiger died.”
The words from my mother this morning hit me like a ton of bricks. She explained that my father had found him on the road. He had been hit by a car. I think they must have called animal services or something and they buried him. I knew that it was going to take a while before I really started to understand that he’s not coming back. I’ve been looking at pictures and videos I took of him doing his favorite things – making the lives of lizards miserable, playing with other cats, and walking through the garden.
It’s funny, because grief is something with which I am quite familiar – in terms of experiencing death. I have a very large family. In fact, I was saying just yesterday that I was pleased that no one in my family had died this year. I had not had a year free of a family death since 2008 and I’ve been praying that everyone would be healthy and happy. Now my Tiger is gone. I can’t believe he won’t get excited for a treat again. That I won’t have to actually start my car to get him to move from on top of the roof. That I won’t hear his soft, sweet meow and feel him purr as I touch him.
Thanks for coming into my life, Tiger. It was way too short. I will never forget you.