While I Was Away

I was out shopping with my wife, enjoying a fresh spring day. We’d been tight about going out during the pandemic. She is compromised with RA, so she worries, and I worry.

While I was shopping, I thought often at my sick cats at home, hoping they were okay, processing sticker shock and dismay at the most recent men fashion trends, especially in shoes.

I returned home. Both cats were alive and okay (relatively). My voice mail notified me of messages. The first few sounded shaken and just asked to receive a call back, no subject given. They arrived hours ago.

The third one got explicit. Word had gone out. ‘Mike’ had been hit by a truck and killed. No confirmation of which Mike. There are three in our group of friends.

Further messages and emails clarified: a friend of mine named Mike was hit by a truck and killed while delivering food to senior citizens. Eighty-five years old himself, he stayed busy, volunteering at numerous places, always helping others, or traveling to museums and art exhibitions around the country. He’d been a mainstay in our beer group and was the driving force behind the donations collected from the beer drinkers to fund STEM efforts in local at-risk, low-income schools, and for the regional high school robotics program. He leaves behind a wife who was also busy as a volunteer, and a huge gap in our community.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

A stratus layer mothers the sun, protecting it from our prying eyes. Theoretically, we had sunrise at 7:11 this morning, but few bright rays have slipped past the cloud shield. The temperature is hovering at 46 degrees F as a fine mist drifts and falls, but today’s high is forecast to be 77 F before sunset at 7:25 PM.

Today is Tuesday, March 22, 2022, or 03222022 in the American style.

I was up with cats last night. Another — a different — sick one, as Tucker puked and went lethargic. My wife is sleeping in another bed adjusted for her back issues. Tucker, who sleeps with me 99 percent of the nights, slept with her. I missed my furry boy and his taps on my hands and nose, and deep, throbbing purr. I asked her this morning, how he was. “Oh, he’s fine,” she said. Oh, he ate? “I don’t know.” Did he drink water? “I don’t know.” Did he use the litter box? “I don’t know.” How do you know he’s okay? “He seems okay.” That is not how it works.

Meanwhile, sick cat took Tucker’s absence as an opportunity to cuddle against me. I pet, scratched, and spoke for him for long hours in the night. His ability to eat is diminishing and he’s fading, despite hopes. Of course, I used the time to write in my head. It wasn’t the plan; the writer is always there, and the muses said, “Hey, while you’re not busy doing anything.” They’re very single-minded. My mind shouted, “Eureka,” as some new and surprising vector took shape. Of course, it must be pursued today.

A 1986 Moody Blues song, “Your Wildest Dreams”, settled into the morning mental music stream. The neurons latched onto after a few dreams. Now it’s on loop and must be released into the net so the neurons can go on to other music.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, and get the shots when you can. The neurons are calling for coffee, threatening me with a medley of 1910 Fruitgum Company melodies if I don’t comply. So off I go. Cheers

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