Daniel Joseph Pezely
21 September 2018
“He’s awake,” Mickey hears while blinking his eyes. His eyes must not have full focus yet because everything seems white– not just white but a white so pure, more than anything he remembers seeing since being a kitten.
Wait. That voice… That expression… Oh, no, that reminds him of Iggy. Iggy was short for Ignatius Lucifer, a modified name given by his adoptive mother during his rebellious youth all those years ago.
Iggy appears and fills Mickey’s sight.
“Hi, Iggy. You seem a little different, somehow.”
“No, it’s still me. Guess who else is here!”
“Wait. Where am I? I mean… I don’t mean any disrespect, little guy, but you passed away…”
Another familiar voice chimes in, “Here it comes!”
She replies, “On three… Two… One…”
“Oh, no. I’ve died! No! N-N-N-No! I have to go back! I have to–”
“Can’t,” Iggy interrupts. “It’s a done deal at this stage, big guy!”
“But… They need–”
“Relax a little,” Cricket suggests, “It’s a little disorienting at first. You’ll adjust in a little bit and then remember.”
Iggy says, “Mickey, you made it to twenty! Do you realize how rare it is for a cat to reach twenty years old?”
“Yes, silly, yesterday was your twentieth birthday.”
“It’s not just jetlag.” Cricket adds for Iggy’s benefit, “He probably forgot. Mom and Dad didn’t know our actual birthdays, since that wasn’t on our records like it was on yours. Instead, they celebrated our anniversaries of adoption, like your mom does with Daisy.”
As Mickey adjusts to the afterlife, he becomes reacquainted with others he befriended while at the shelter. So happy to see his best mate from the open-pen Cat Colony, he attempts charging headlong towards Coco but stumbles a few times while regaining his sea legs. Being jet-black Burmese, Coco passed many years earlier, for purebreds often have health complications in their early teen years. Already acclimated, Coco more than compensates and comes bounding to Mickey instead. As with many dear friends, Coco awaited Mickey’s arrival.
The man-cats exchange stories about their intervening years. Mickey shares tales of family life involving Cricket and moving among various addresses along the West Coast.
He enjoyed the variety, including visits with Iggy and Daisy– especially Daisy– several years his junior. Mickey developed a crush on her since meeting, even if all they could ever do was cuddle and double-decker chase around the dining room table that accommodated eight humans comfortably– or eighteen cats, probably.
While catching-up with Coco and others, intermittent calls from Mom and Dad come through– psychic telegrams– to which Mickey would acknowledge that he’s okay, with friends now and adjusting well. This soothes his adoptive parents who worried that he may have been suffering during those last few months of illness related to his advanced age and especially his final hours.
As he adjusts back to this more natural state of being for a multi-dimensional entity, Mickey settles into his new routine.
No more furballs: there’s no more shedding on this side of the veil separating the realms. That much, he really likes.
But Mom and Dad remain very sad, and this upsets Mickey because he’s unable to become visible for them in his present form. By the time he could go through the full de-briefing, hang-out during the mandatory waiting period, wait through the queue of trans-dimensional bureaucracy, pick a birth mother and get born into the right circumstances for finding his way back to Mom and Dad, that’s like a whole cat lifetime! Besides, who knows where those humans will be then? It’s a logistics nightmare.
He feels their profound sadness, even if unable to physically share a pillow with Dad at night now or to lay on Mom’s lap for a combing while she has her morning coffee. He still tries to be there, but they can’t see his nonphysical form. They believe that they sense him, but society at large laughs at such notions. Usually, they simply laugh back at society, but neither laugh today.
After Cricket passed about two years earlier, they decided to wait before adopting again. Several reasons motivated this. First, moving across the border so Mom could return to the country of her birth might have been traumatizing for a would-be adoptee. The seventeen hours of driving from San Francisco to Vancouver was hard enough on Mickey, who had been with them for over a dozen years already. The generously oversized case was about as ideal of travel accommodations a feline might find– short of the Class A tour bus rock-stars might expect for a road trip.
Perhaps more importantly, his parents felt in retrospect like they didn’t grieve properly before adopting Cricket. Nuff passed following complicated medical issues stemming from being a purebred Burmese like Coco, and before her, Bea succumbed to thyroid issues only months earlier. Allowing a few months in between seemed appropriate but later felt insufficient.
Then when Cricket passed, Mickey had the opportunity to experience being an only child. Exclusive attention on him was well deserved, and that’s not just in terms of cat entitlement. While Cricket knew that she was the princess travelling incognito, Mickey remained the benevolent ruler of the pride. When Iggy stepped out of line those few times, Mickey would sit firm and just raise his large front paw. Shenanigans ended.
Mickey enjoyed receiving undivided attention from his human parents and appreciated the occasional visit from neighbours and their cats.
However, in the days since his passing, Mickey and Cricket’s mom and dad remain without any fur therapy whatsoever. He replies to many more of their inbound telegrams, as do Cricket, Nuff and Bea.
As his second week here completes, Mickey acclimates to his heavenly environment. This level of adjustment qualifies him for hosting the arrival of his beloved Daisy, the timing of which they had long since planned.