Meet Some of My
New York Friends
Paraphrasing Mario Puzo, keep your friends close, and the friends of your friends, closer. He may’ve known a thing or two about family sagas, but as far as animals are concerned, not so much. In fact, most of us wouldn’t flinch about harming a pet, even if Hollywood had an offer we couldn’t refuse.
Gentle beasts, they earn from us more than we could ever give friends, lovers, and relatives. So let me introduce you to a few of my acquaintances’ cats, and one tender dog, in the company of whom I satisfy my fix, and sense of loss since mine left me long ago and I’ve run out of time to outlast new ones.
Life gives us no choice: once the time comes, we leave it all behind. Which is fine. But unlike sons and daughters, there’s no telling them, now, go get your own place and pets to tend to. Once you’re together, you’re down for the long, or short, run, or whenever one of you checks out. Try not to be the first.
For the accidental petsitter like me, it’s always clear which one of us is the needier, and who’s actually providing existential relief. Just like it was when they adopted us. So I tackle my duties like a priest sets up the altar for a mass: everything has to be carefully arranged to assure a safe trip to heaven for all involved.
Things usually follow a natural path, from wearily sizing each other’s out to lending a tad of trust to the proceedings, to the time when it gets to be all fun and games. Such a progression may seem casual to the untrained eye, but let’s not let looks deceive us. For in the end, we may all feel better for having shared those moments together.
OLD SCHOOL & THE INTERLOPER
Ziggy was once the new kid on the block but was never as big as his elder brother, who’s left us. When he finally got his shot at the top, KittyKat showed up and won everybody’s heart. Soon, he grew bigger and is now the dominant dude. Ziggy is right to be bitter.
Two beautiful Coons, they’ve got ways to go to get along, if they’ll ever. Most likely, Ziggy will keep on being cranky, despite such a Reggae name, while Kitty gets away with mayhem. And some dare to say that cats have it easy. Life has no patience for fairness. I love these two.
THE MAJESTIC QUEEN GRACIE
There are not enough superlatives to describe this lady, and to keep it simple doesn’t do her justice either. Trying to strike a feline-like balance when writing about a cat risks exposing the inadequacy of our own sense of balance. We pinch a nerve while Gracie sails on.
I’m always ready to be entirely at her service. Not that she ever demanded. When she vocalizes her state of mind I understand it perfectly. Many a silent sunset we’ve enjoyed together, as I dabbled in her generous name-sake mood. Everything about her speaks of harmony. I look forward to indulging her light again soon.
BIRDIE & SQUIRT, TWIN SHADOWS
These two could be spies, and I swear they like to play doubles. Just when I thought I knew which is which, they’ve proved me wrong. Twice. I’m sure at least one of them flies when no one is looking. Then again, to wonder what cats do when we’re not around is like trying to build walls of shade. I think they can read my mind too.
Once I dozed off and just before I came to, I had this vivid impression they were staring at my reverie. But when I’ve opened my eyes, neither Birdie nor Squirt was anywhere to be seen. I’m sure they know something about me I don’t dare to imagine what. Next time, I’ll try an alias.
LULU TRAPEZIST & PRINCESS FURBALL
Lulu is the girl next door, who flirts with the string I flicker in front of her paws, and then disappears in the back. Princess came after, her beautiful fur covering up her round body. While she hardly moves, Lulu entertains dogs of all sizes. They both live in a pet store, you see.
Lulu‘s the one I seek when I need a quick cat fix. She won’t let (more)
* Head Tails
* Ailurophile Caturally
* Suddenly, Last Caturday
me lift her, though; something about her past, I guess. Still, I did consider taking her home. Too late now; she’s already feral from too many nights alone in the basement. She’s crazy about the cat toy I got her.
LINCOLINO, THE MOANING CHAP
Lincoln is the only dog I ever sat with, and I’d do it a hundred times more (don’t tell my friends). Yes, he stinks, as dogs do, but I don’t care. And yes, he wants to lick my face with the same tongue he uses for, well, you know. I’m still working on that, the snob. Still, I love him.
I feared when his two human siblings showed up to rule the place. But his heart is so big never once I caught him longing to be the only one again. He adores those two abusers, as I do too. Only puppy who moans when seeing me. I respond in kind. He makes me better.
BOCONCINI & MARGARETA, NININOS EXTRAORDINAIRE
I had to include them here. Over 20 years of a hyper reality we shared in joy. Boconcini went first, and I’ve recited John Keats as he departed. Margareta laid down as if at asleep, and coughed goodbyes soulfully. I think about this pair at least once a day. Life’s worthless, otherwise.
Once, just before waking up, I heard them call me by the name they gave me. And for a moment, I’ve learned how they called each other too. I was let in on a secret, but the memory didn’t survive that day. Still I’m honored they revealed it to me. Through them, I’m special and tonight, like many before, I may see them in my dreams.
(*) Originally posted on Oct. 11, 2017.