Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Ninth Christmas

When I was nine years old, I wanted a kitten more than anything. I would pray every night for Santa or God or Whoever to bring me a kitten. I remember really wanting an orange kitty, but my parents remember it as a gray kitten.

Christmas morning, I awoke to the sounds of meowing coming from the living room. Meowing? Nah, couldn't be...could it? I thought my dad might have been teasing me. I crept out to the living room, and under the tree was a big white box with a red bow. The box had holes punched in the lid.

I can see it in my mind like it was yesterday,that is, if yesterday was 18 years ago. Inside that big white box was the cutest, sweetest, most adorable little gray kitten I had ever seen, and I fell in love instantly. After picking up that kitty and letting him scoot around the house, I decided he did exactly that. So I named him Scooter.

Scooter slept in my bed with me, under the covers, down by my feet. He would chew on my toes very gently, and I loved it. My parents knew not to sit on the lower half of my bed lest they sit on Scooter.

To my eternal shame and sadness, when my parents divorced I stopped seeing Scooter. I was 16 and into being a wild teenager. I lived with my dad and Scooter stayed with my mom. Sadly, one day my mother broke the news to me that she had had to put Scooter to sleep. I was seventeen and pregnant, and very emotional. Things with my mother were still pretty rocky, and to ask questions or show emotion near her was not something I was going to do. I didn't ask her to clarify, I just accepted it and cried in the privacy of my room. I still cry sometimes. I've got tears in my eyes while I'm writing this.

Every so often I dream about Scooter. The dreams are weird, strange. They always have something to do with Scooter bleeding from his behind or underneath. Although we're on good terms now, I don't have the nerve to ask my mother the reason why she had Scooter put to sleep, if in fact that is what happened. (When they had to get rid of my brother's dog-also due to the divorce-she told him that they had found the dog "a nice farm to live on". Years later she told me, "Don't tell your brother but the dog had to go to Haven Humane.") Somewhere inside I think I know that something bad happened to Scooter, and I don't know if I can take that pain of knowing he was hurt. And the thing that kills me? I never got to say goodbye. And if she really had him put to sleep because of an illness, and not an accident, then knowing that she didn't let me say goodbye would certainly have an effect on my feelings towards my mother.

The dreams though...they've gotta' stop. I need to be at peace with this somehow, and I'm not sure how to find that peace.

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