Since moving out of my parents’ house at eighteen, I have lived in Edmonton, Banff, A Van, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary and Los Angeles. I have owned two homes and have lived in twenty, twenty-one if you count the camperized Dodge van. I am good at moving but do I ever want to move again? No.
Despite three kids and six pets and a marriage, I have never settled down. Or rather, we have never settled down. I haven’t been alone since I was nineteen.
I have moved the ashes of my two dead dogs with me to the last dozen or so of those twenty homes, which is more than I can say for my ex-husband.
This is Gus. Cat number two. Gus and his sister, Gertie, were rescues from a hoarding situation in Santa Monica.
Gus needed prozac because he was having flashbacks. These photos are proof he needed prozac.
The only miracle I’ve ever witnessed was Gus racing through the living room of my nineteenth house, with a cigarette in his mouth. By the time I got to my phone to take a photo, he was back to playing with the cigarette again. Seeing Gus running with a cigarette filter-side in his mouth will stay with me until I am dead.
One day, I was eating a popsicle, clearly without a care in the world because I was alone and eating a popsicle, when my doorbell rang. It was my elderly my neighbor, crying.
“Your cat was just hit by a car.”
I didn’t know what to do with the popsicle, I just stared at her and licked it. Then I said, “he’s in the house.”
She shook her head no.
Then I saw him on the street. Dead.
“It just happened.”
I was instantly sick. I didn’t know how he got out. But the landscapers who were there at the time helped me pick him up and put him in a box. I don’t remember what became of the popsicle.
I took Gus across the street to the veterinary clinic. Made everyone in the waiting room cry.
I went back a few days later for his ashes. I brought them home and mixed him in with the ashes of my two dogs and buried them in the backyard of my current house. I’ve laid my pets to rest in house number twenty. I’ve laid a lot to rest in house number twenty.
Maybe it will make me settle.