I just accidentally deleted a big long piece I wrote about my tabby cat who I left at the Clinic earlier this afternoon. I walked into the building with him and walked home with an empty carrier. It contained a green and white cat towel and a stuffed white buffalo, which I sleep with and I took because it smells like me, like us. My Marbles, Mr. Marbles actually, but mainly Marbles or Marble-yyy, sometimes doo-doo or hunny-bunny. A man of many names and a huge soul, and even louder voice. I loved that about him though, you never wondered where he stood on an issue. Honestly, in that tiny body housed a massive and magnanimous spirit, one that saved me from so very many things over the fifteen years we lived together.
I feel tired, relieved, uncertain, guilty, and grateful. Grateful for that little boy who always showed up for me, who bloomed with life and love in ways that always made me smile, sometimes swear, but mainly adore him. I also feel in awe of him, his strength to hang on through his many health issues and to also hang on for me. That’s what animals often do, they sacrifice themselves for our benefit. They are so wise and giving; he was so graceful and composed in his passing. I marvel at Marbles, who loved me fiercely for fifteen years and I him, along with my other two boys Rama/Rammy and Shiva/Shivy. My Tabby trio that I grew to depend upon for things I didn’t even realize I needed from them, mainly unconditional love and being present. Cats can teach us so very much and most of them want in, into our lives and into our hearts too. That is where they all are for me, so deep no ink will spill their names. No tattoo is needed for these boys of mine, whose little souls are already tucked away in my heart so deep no extra colour or linework is needed. They are in me.
But, how to live with just one? I’ve never done that on my own, always had two or three. I have no clue and in preparation for this eventual moment I write. I wrote yesterday and I do it today. I write to cope and to sooth myself, for words are a balm unlike any other. Into the writer and into a place where I am safe, creative, engaged…But I’m without my Marbles. One less dish on the floor, no more meds to buy and agonize over, no more jealous ego to soothe from the couch or the floor where he’d always be close, so close to me. When thinking about this day I knew I had to write something about love, for obvious reasons but also to push myself. Love is the medium of life and it is spread across countless tablets, papyrus scrolls, church walls, pressed books and the plastic screens we call progress. Love is the most ancient of quandaries and soul foods. How to talk about it in a way that is not only original, but does justice to my departed boy? I try here.
What is love- for Marbles
Describing love is like trying to eat smoke with a knife and a fork
Its enormity exceeds our blunt tools of digestion and language
Love fills the capillaries that feed and clear the heart’s chambers of its warm blood
Flooding the body with its steady pulse as we breathe
We pull at it like the magician’s scarf
Revealing, marking, hiding life’s events
Love lives beyond the flesh, in memory and in forgetting
It shifts shape from person to thing to impulse to pooled reservoir
Of the soul and there we learn that it can be anything
We can make love whatever we like, which is part of its power
And our destiny, little one
Mr. Marbles from Winnipeg, who I’ve been blessed to know since 2005
Love lives in our shared gift
I picked you and you were not easy, nor was I in our early years
But you stayed because we needed each other
Even now as you rest, like a shrunken ball of bones and grateful essence
You feed me like the air that runs through my hurting heart