No Such Thing as Nine Lives // by Elisabeth W. (October 2017)

Tomorrow is a scary thing. It’s uncertain, unwritten. You can plan as much as you want, but it won’t matter. Anything can happen. These are not my thoughts as I go to bed one night, the furry black blob of a cat curled up at my feet and white sheets nestled securely around me. Rocky is a good cat. He cuddles with me every night. His sister, Pandora, never cuddles but she is always sweet as can be. I’ve had both of them for seven years and I treat them as my children, which I guess a lot of people would consider weird. I don’t care though; I’ve always loved cats. I drift away to dreamland, at peace with my thoughts.

It’s tomorrow. Another school day. My alarm wakes me from my coma with its fervent screaming. I hit snooze and roll back over. A few minutes later I’m reawakened by the slow creak of my door.
“Elisabeth.” My mom says. My brain isn’t functioning right yet and I mistake the anxious tone in her voice for that of excitement. What could possibly be so exciting at six in the morning? I blink in acknowledgment and she sits down on my bed. Are those… tears? I’m still half-asleep but panic begins to grip my heart. Something is wrong. Something is horribly wrong.

“I have to tell you this now,” she stammers, “because you’re going to find out eventually.”

My mind is racing at this point. A cold hand of anxiety grips my heart.

“Pandy is dead.”

“What?” was all I could say? It is at this moment where I expect to wake up from my dream. But I don’t, because it isn’t a dream. It is reality, and the worst kind. I rip back my covers and run, somehow knowing exactly where to go. I flee down the stairs, stopping to pull a leg of my sweatpants down since it had begun to drift up my calf. Irritation poked at me for caring about my sweatpants at a time like this. Everything is a sick blur as I continue through the kitchen, through the living room, and to the couch where I know she is. Where she always is in the morning. She always greets me with a trill and happily swishes her tail, thumping it against the pillows. But not this morning. The floor seems to sway under my feet and I sit down on the edge of the couch. I place a timid hand on her side and feel the familiar softness of her fluffy black and white fur. No warmth is emitted into my hand. Instead, coldness and stiffness emits through her into my entire body. It’s been a long time since I last cried, but there is no way I’m stopping myself from doing so. Time seems to stand still, when in reality about thirty minutes pass. Life goes on with or without you.

It’s tomorrow, again. Thursday. I’m supposed to be at school, but I’m not, because I’m mentally sick. I feel completely empty when I’m not crying, so I try to cry as much as possible. It’s my only outlet right now. My head throbs and my arms ache. There is almost nothing worse than feeling absolutely helpless. I sit outside on the porch and watch the sunset go down. Pandy always loved to be outside. Now she’s always outside.

Death is a scary thing. Something is alive and then, suddenly, it’s not. You’re left with nothing but memories. I’d never experienced loss before Pandy, and it’s something that you really can’t imagine until it has happened. It’s a sort of aching in your arms and a voice whispering that nothing will ever be the same again. You can’t see straight or think straight or walk straight without collapsing. But there’s always hope. I’m so thankful for my friends who encouraged me and tried to get me back up on my feet. To be honest I felt like they’d think I was dumb for being so heartbroken over a cat. But she was more than a cat, she was family. They say that cats have nine lives. Unfortunately, this is a myth.