Tootsie

Facebook Memories can bring up some of the best memories. Funny pictures, awesome trips, happy days… But it can also bring up some of the worst times. Times you have shared, to vent, to feel less alone, to let people know. Although, 12 years ago I’m sure I didn’t have half as many “friends” as I do now. Perhaps a handful of mates from college. Most of whom are probably no longer listed as “friend.”
But 12 years ago, at this time, I put down my cat Tootsie. I have no recollection of where the heck I came up with that name. I was very young. I remember them, her and her sister Peanut, living in a large box next to the fireplace. Like true sisters, they hated eachother. I remember peeking over the edge of the box, they were so small.
Peanut was my brothers, a calico who became fat. Tootsie was all mine, a sleek all black angel. She learned to climb the slippery black ladder of my bunk bed to be near me. She would bite at my arm when I was having a teenage meltdown, to make me stop and breathe. She loved potato chips and would bat at my face to get one. She was my most precious angel.
And I remember 12 years ago. I remember her becoming sick. We took her to the vet and afterwards she seemed better. My parents and I had planned a trip over New Years, and they were considering canceling it. But I threw a fit. I wanted to do this trip. I needed to do this trip. Admittedly, I simply wanted the brief opportunity to be with a boy I’d met last time I was there, in the spring. We had begun a long distance relationship and I hadn’t seen him face to face since. My parents didn’t think it was a good idea, to leave Tootsie, but in the end relented.
When we returned I was so excited to see Tootsie. I swept her up in my arms, and I instantly realized she had gotten worse. Much worse. Her eyes barely registered me, and my parents knew that we had to put her down.
My sweetest angel. I had been so selfish in leaving her when she was sick. For a boy. And the guilt and heartbreak has never left me.
I don’t have pictures desplayed in my home of family or friends. I simply never have. Except one. A picture of Tootsie, guarding my pen and notebook.

I don’t want it to seem as though my current cat Thumbs will never compare. I love him just as fiercly. He, with his buck teeth and huge paws. He, with his hatred of all fish except cheddar blasted goldfish. He, with his open and unabashed love for all those who are most important to me.

I was young and selfish 12 years ago. My heart was wounded. But I have grown since. I have developed a sense of priorities, and patience, and an appreciation for the fragility of life. And Facebook helps remind me of that every year.

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