His death was not easy. At least not for me. He may have slid into that immortal ecstasy that the very good sometimes land in, but he was always my heart.
He died peacefully of pneumonia. Mom touched his head just minutes before he curled up under my desk and took his final cat nap. He lifted his head and talked to her in that sweet 'brinnning' noise that had always been his.
We had lived so joyfully, he and I. For twenty years we had snuggled together, shared pain, moved on and finally came to rest.
I remember him as a tiny kitten, all full of fight and ready for the world.
But the first time I saw him he was the puny little runt, cowering in the corner. His mother, a beautiful calico, destined to the gas chambers, no longer cared for him and he was left on his own.
One week later I came to retrieve my helpless baby.
He was the king of the roust. He didn't put up with any nonsense from those other kittens. He was first, period.
He was big and burly and his timid disposition had vanished. Beautiful, silky and mostly black, I took my Baby home.
He bit Mom. She was feeding him ham and he bit her. Of course he bit anyone that came within biting distance of his food. He had fought hard to live among all those other kittens. One dish, eight kittens, he had to fight or starve.
I shook him and spanked him and threw him out the door. He grew into a fine gentleman who could be caressed by the smallest child without cause for concern.
Smokey slept nestled in my arms until I married and my husband threw him out of the bed.
I moved countless times during my marriage and subsequent divorce, but always my faithful friend stayed near me. He moved aside when it was required, but I could always find comfort in his soft purring presence.
I broke with my family. I was detached and floating. My Boy, My Old Man, he brings me to earth, he always comforts me.
And now, twenty years after that feisty kitten bit my mother, I mourn.
Smoke, I love you and I miss you, my Beebe.
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