Forever loved: The Inscrutables

Forever loved: The Inscrutables

This can’t be right.

We are Tabby’s Place, after all.

We are the Place that saves.

Tigger, forever loved

We are the Place that glares into death’s beady eyes and says, “go home.”

We are the Place that hides the frail in our arms and tells death, “you cannot have this one.”

We are the Place that harrows “hopeless situations” until they surrender lives to our love.

We are not in denial. We live in a wary armistice with loss. We believe love is a form of immortality, even when our arms are empty and our eyes are as red as the little cat heart we could not keep beating.

Our darling Snowcap arrived with injuries too severe to survive. Yet she became ours, and we became hers, and the love between us echoes into eternity. Until we meet again, beloved girl.

But this…this can’t be right.

A caregiver races a feral cat to our door. Geraldine is one of ours, a microchipped and loved member of a Tabby’s Place colony. Her ear is tipped, and her interest in hugs is zero, but she is as much a Tabby’s Place cat as Steven or Grecca. Geraldine is dying. She gives her last breath just as we give the first kisses of her life. We do not have time together. There is so much we wanted to tell her.

A kitten comes to us in the usual way. He is neurologically afflicted, but we are Tabby’s Place. We call him Tigger. We call upon the sharpest minds and sturdiest hearts in veterinary medicine and care-giving. He is as small as a chocolate chip cookie in our hands, but he is in our hands.

We believe in our own hands more than we admit.

We believe his “hopeless situation” is vanquished in the hour he becomes a Tabby’s Place cat. We forget that bodies write decrees we can neither read nor erase. We cannot cure him. We lose him, mere days into loving him.

A soul crosses seas in a body bright as light itself. Snowcap is so alive, her eyes burst open in two different colors. Snowcap has so much to say, her white coat ripples with flurries. Snowcap is paraplegic, but we are Tabby’s Place.

Treasured Tigger

We fantasize about her future as the duchess of the Lobby, where she will toast Prescott, and Hips, and all the lively improbables who “should not” have survived.

She is riven with internal injuries. We cannot mend her gnarled insides. We cannot keep her for more than a few days. We cannot stop crying.

This can’t be right. We are Tabby’s Place, where life takes the victory.

It would be no less “right” if Tigger and Snowcap and Geraldine had died at eighteen. We do not broker deals with death. Even when we are “prepared,” even if it is “time,” we enfold our elders in greedy arms. We growl at “goodbye.” “Come and claim them. We dare you.” It never feels right. It is not right.

But when we’ve had time, we can comfort ourselves. After months or years as a Tabby’s Place cat, they are loved up for the journey. Our friend may have places to go, where we cannot follow, but we have filled their backpack. Josie and Mullet and Durin heard love’s graceful language of time. Life won, even as we parted. We had time. It was not enough. We made it enough.

We love you, Snowcap. We always will.

But time is not love’s only dialect.

We are Tabby’s Place, and our hearts have no security system. No one patrols the perimeter. Love smashes the kitchen timer that says bonds are only full-baked after a month, a week, an hour.

We are Tabby’s Place, and we insist on our rights. We will break time open. We will love decades into days. We will defy death, even when it comes.

We will shout up to the stars, on the coldest night of the year, “Snowcap is ours, and we are hers. Tigger is a Tabby’s Place cat beyond eternity. Geraldine reigns. You cannot have them.”

We cannot keep them all here with us.

We can keep their stories alive.

We can accept the inscrutable, when we accept our mission: love, come what may.

Love, all the way to the day when Snowcap’s gumdrop eyes smile on us again, and Tigger is triumphant, and every sleek feral sprints the heavens like a comet.

Love, and what’s wrong will be made right.

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