Seven months ago my daughter rescued a kitten from an alley in Cle Elum Washington. The mother had a litter and a man found them. We appropriately named the kitten, Allie. I've never been much for cats, but there was something about this kitten that just touched everyone. She ran away once and a neighbor found her. Didn't want to give her back. She was tiny, a runt and had an amazing personality. Since I work at home Allie used to find her way into my office and jump into my lap. Sometimes she would just lay down and nap and others she would chase the cursor on my screen. But she also had a bit of the wonderlust, maybe from being born wild. If she got out, she'd run and we'd have a devil of a time getting her back. But she always came back, every time....except two nights ago.
Despite my daughter calling and calling, Allie never came home and in the morning she wanted to go out and find her, but she had a presentation at school and she had to be there. When I arrived for the presentation I found my wife fighting back tears, eyes swollen and red. Someone had found Allie the night before, in the road, dead.
We waited until the afternoon to tell our daughter, but she somehow had already sensed it. Still, the shock of hearing the words, "Allie is dead" sent her screaming - not crying - but screaming in anguish. "NO, No, NO." And then the tears, floods and floods of tears, followed by the questions. "Why? Why would God do that?" and "Why would someone just leave her in the street?"
And then she broke my heart. She said she felt most sad for Daddy "because you know, Mom, I think Dad really loved Allie and now she won't be with him in his office anymore."
And then I cried.
We buried Allie in the yard, under a cedar tree she loved to climb. We buried her with bulbs so the flowers would always remind us, every year, of the joy she brought in seven short months.
It's just a cat, I know some might say. And I would have maybe been one of them seven months ago. But not anymore. She was my daughter's cat, and that meant something to her. And it came to mean something to me. She wasn't just a cat. She was Allie.
And now she is gone and I have had to admit I'm going to miss her. I'm going to miss her an awful lot.