the second installment.

June 17, 2008

My trip down memory lane continues with the story of Tiramisu – the cat, not the dessert.

You can’t really tell the story of Tira without starting with the story of Emma. Emma was my first pet as an adult, a beautiful light gray tabby that we brought home from the animal rescue. I will never ever forget the way she reached her paw out of the metal cage to pet my shirt. I knew that she was the one we were taking home.

Other than her incessant purring and the kneading of my hair while I tried to sleep, she was the perfect cat. She loved to play fetch with a little stuffed cow named Moo-Moo. She had absolutely no fear. She’d visit our neighbors and lived for chasing our neighbor’s beagle around the parking lot of the apartment building.

When I went to leave for a semester in England in January of 1997, she was nowhere for be found. Every time I called home I would ask Ben if he’d seen her and every time he’d sigh and say he was sorry, but he thought she’d run away. I came back that summer and I would walk the neighborhood looking for her. I was pitiful.*

My friend Kelly, another exchange student who I’d met in England, took pity on me and brought over one of her new kittens to replace Emma. I named that kitten Tiramisu, after my favorite dessert from a restaurant near Nene, where Kelly and I had studied. And so began my life with Tira.

She was the opposite of Emma. She hid in the bread basket on the fridge most of the day, only coming out to use the litterbox or eat. She didn’t like people. She didn’t sleep with us or play with us. She just existed. She played with Athena, the ferret, a bit. She also got the passenger seat in the Honda Civic when we moved to Arizona, while I shared the back seat with a carseat and a magical staff – not my most comfortable four days.

In retrospect I feel bad for Tira as it was impossible to live up to Emma’s legacy, but she always was a part of our family. I would love to have a cat like her today. After all, I’ve got a kid to bother me while I try to sleep or to play fetch and chase dogs. Now I long for a quiet soul like hers.

—-

* It is worth noting here, too, that this was a benevolent fib on Ben’s part, as Emma had been mauled by a dog, dragged herself to our front step, and when Ben found her he took her to the vet to have her put down. He returned home to destroy all evidence. I only found this out when I accidentally killed his ferret three years later.

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