Heartbroken preface: One of the gifts and hazards of writing this blog a bit in advance is that I can’t know what tomorrow knows.
On the “yesterday” when these words hit the blank screen, Fiesta’s party prevailed at full volume. On the “today” when tears hit my keyboard, our tiny merry-maker has already gone on to glory.
Yet, when it comes to her essence, my words still stand, with one crucial change: on the far side of the veil, Fiesta touches the infinite. What life itself limits, the life after life unlooses into pure light.
May we marvel together at the cat that was, and is, and ever will be our Fiesta. XO, AH
You may score over 500 on Scrabble every time you play.
You may be the most decorated pole vaulter in central New Jersey.
You may be the all-time favorite of felines and children and mall Santas.
You may be Tina Turner’s personal inspiration for the song “Simply the Best.”
But you, sweet kitten, are not infinite.
This is wonderful news, because it means you can be alive instead.
Sometimes we forget that “being alive” is I-T “it,” where it’s at, the thing that turns all the gears and jazzes all the dances, the spot that hits the spot. Fortunately, we are surrounded by cats.
Although cats may not be in a habit of humility, neither do they traffic in the absurd. (If you’re under the mistaken impression that “expecting to be treated as towering golden deities bathed in rivers of liquid bacon” is absurd, you need to reevaluate your definition of “surd.”) There’s not a cat alive who expects infinity of herself, not a single whiskered emperor who believes she can do absolutely everything.
Much less that she should.
Fiesta was forged in the mines of creamsicle gold, as perfect a creature as ever lived. Circumstances and skin disease left her lonely and itchy, but at no time did she put it upon herself to solve the problems of the world, or even her own (e.g. loneliness, itchiness, inability to locate rivers of liquid bacon on map).
Life lurched weirdward, as Fiesta followed the most peculiar party music to Tabby’s Place. She wore multiple hats; she feted multiple suites; she alternately cheered and charged at multiple cats with the impressive force of one six-pound, linguini-limbed potentate.
Pitched back and forth by circumstance’s sweaty hands, you or I might have attempted to Conquer Them All.
Hurled into Suite C? Surely I can muster the specific form of mirth that shall delight my new neighbors.
Batted over to Suite B? You bet I’ll style myself a chandelier-swinging celebrant of madness, studying at the feet of Maesters J’Happy and Mr. Thief.
Rolled on down the river into the Development Director’s Office? (Heaven help all such creatures.) You bet I’ll bust my balloons crunching numbers and delighting donors and writing frantic frippery with all my might.
I will be what everyone needs me to be.
I will do everything that’s asked and implied and even softly sighed in my direction.
I will extend myself in all directions like a piece of string cheese.
I will outrun my own oxygen.
I will become infinity itself, a cat for all rooms and reasons and seasons.
Except, no self-respecting cat (and every cat has a PhD in self-respect) has ever thought in such terms.
Wherever the world has whirled her, Fiesta has been Fiesta. Formidable, feminine, festooned in tenderness and good humor. Sleepy and rollicking, quiet and crazed, more and more herself each moment. There is no inner agonizer urging her to be everything.
She is finite. She is fantastic. She is firmly who and what the great Quilter crafted her to be. And, unlike you and me and all the pole vaulters who ever leapt, she is fully at peace.
Free to not be everything, Fiesta can be the very thing this world needs: herself.
From her first week in the strangest Shire of Tabby’s Place (my office is nothing if not Ringoes’ answer to Hobbiton), Fiesta has formed a pact with her own heart: I shall be spectacularly me, let the chips fall where they may, and may they please be dipped in cheese product and sprinkled with giblets?
She was content upon arrival.
She was full of herself (as all cats are) and empty of expectation.
She delighted in life and fully expected it to delight right back.
Is it any wonder even her new roommate – yes, dear reader, here I speak of the imperial, ultimate only-cat Bucca – fell under the spell of grace?
Given her itchy history and her many years since kittenhood, it’s likely Fiesta will be here to party with us for some time to come. That’s fine by the cat who’s fine with her finitude. She will give life her all without giving herself away. She will dwell in dreams without rejecting her earthy reality.
She will teach us all how to party in the garden we’re given.
She will be so much more than enough.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll wander into the arms of enoughness, too.
We can’t accomplish or acquire or be everything. But we are magical little things, you and me, born for belovedness and bizarre adventures emblazoned with our very own names. In our littleness, we’ll change the world, one peace-hearted party at a time.
Are you in? Let’s vault.
And let’s give thanks for the petite party of a cat who will forever frolic beside us. Until we meet again, Fiesta my love, may the angels dance circles of laughter and love around you.