Coffee... That was the name of my girlfriend's cat. Now, I'm not really a "cat " or a "dog" person but this was one of the coolest cats I'd ever seen. By cat standards, I guess you can say he was huge. Big, black and hairy and somewhat resembling a football. He walked with a distinctive limp as a result of a run in with a couple of neighborhood dogs quite a few years back and never quite recovered from the episode. He had this five or six house radious that he'd patrol night and day like that was his neigborhood and he owned every inch of it.

He was also diabetic. He had to have a couple of shots each day in order to keep him going. Actually, we had written him off over a year ago but figured we'd give this a try. I mean, what harm could come of it?. My girfriend used to have to give him his two shots each day, one every morning before work and one each evening when she got home. Now -I don't know if you've ever had to give a cat a shot but this was no walk in the park. I was always there to help out by holding the cat or even giving him the needle when he was not in the mood. This arrangement worked out pretty well for about eight months.

Then, the bad things started to happen. The shot's didn't seem to have an effect on Coffee anymore. In essence, he stopped being a cat. He'd get stuck in corners and walk around in circles, he'd shit and piss all over the house. It seemed like he couldn't recognize his surroundings anymore.

We decided it was time to put Coffee down. Anyone who's had a pet of any kind for 17 years knows that this is not an easy decision. We pack up the cat and drive to the vet. The whole process takes about 20 minutes and we walk away feeling numb about the whole thing. My girfriend is, needless to say, a wreck.

We take Coffee home in the same box that he'd left in that morning. We spend the rest of the day deciding where to bury him (his favorite spot, under some bushes in the front yard). We go from store to store to pick out something appropriate to mark both his grave and his passing (a statue of a big fat smiling cat). We go to some more stores to pick out what to bury him in ( a black felt bag with gold trim, emblazoned with a red heart). We pick out items from around the house that we think he might enjoy on his journey to the great beyond (his favorite toy, a can of tuna and a newspaper). We dig the hole, put him in the bag along with the trinkets, perform a little ceremony and cover him up. Tears are shed, Coffee stories are told and we celebrate his passing.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.....

These days, my girlfriend doesn't come home after work every night. Now that Coffee's gone, I guess theres no reason to. When I ask her what she's doing, she says she going out with a "friend". She says I sould start expanding my horizons to not include her as much in our plans. This kinda upsets me and I start to voice my frustrations. This leads to some very heated discussions and usually winds up with more acrimony between us than already exists. We seem to have drifted further and further apart. I resent her new found freedom and she resents my need to know what she's doing.

In retrospect - I guess its kind of strange how all things that, on the face of it, appear to be individuals but somehow might be related. In this case, two people and a sick cat, brought together by circumstances that can't or won't be repeated.

I wish that fuckin' cat had lived forever.

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