My partner and I just moved to Montreal from Toronto. It is our first time living together and the move was big. We both lived in Toronto for over 10 years. Stuff was accumulated. I own lots of books and shoes. Mel owns lots of albums and skull memorabilia.
The most interesting part of our move is the joining of our sons. My dog Coffee, aka “the Frog”, a Boston terrier, and Mel’s cat Chuckie, aka “the owl, duck”.
I am considered Mommy 1 to Coffee and Mel is Mommy 2. With Chuckie, Mel is Mommy 1 and I am Mommy 2. We both play significant roles in the lives of our furry friends.
This is a story about Chuckie the Cat.
I awoke abruptly from noises one night not sure where they came from. Since Coffee and Chuckie are sleeping in the living room together now, I assumed it was my misbehaving Boston terrier making the racket.
I walked down the long dimly lit hallway worried my dog got into no good. He has a habit of breaking into the fridge and helping himself to pasta, cheese, and ham. At my place in Toronto I had to install baby gates because he had gotten so good at helping himself to his favorite foods. He hasn’t tried this at our new place but there was always a chance he would still.
I arrived at the living room realizing it was our upstairs neighbors making the noise and turned my head to see Coffee on his bed with red blanket wrapped around him. He was sleeping and quiet, unaware of my presence.
Now was as good a time as any to go to the washroom.
I am among the opened boxes scattered in the newly moved into space. Chuckie, the cat, comes in to greet me, quacking softly. I pet his body that is thinning from kidney disease looking into his big green eyes. It feels like the first time we’ve looked at each other like this. My strokes are gentle, barely there, but enough to please him.
He looks toward the tub; I ask him, “Would you like some water?”
“Okay, Mommy 2 will turn it on for you.”
He jumps into the tub. I turn the water on to a drip. He gets in; putting the top of his head under the tap, paw below to catch the flow. Chuckie licks his paw drinking the water, happy to be practicing his routine in the new place.
He comes closer to me, big pools of green filled with happiness and love. I realize again the simplicity in the best moments of life. I see it clearly in my partner’s aging, thankful pet.
His meows are quacks, one of the traits that make him unique. He meows again. I grab a Kleenex and softly wipe his forehead. Mel told me he loves this. I consider it part of his grooming and am glad to oblige.
I am sitting at the base of the tub looking at him as he stares up at me. I wash my hands and he saunters into the spare bedroom that has become his.
I recognize this moment as our first bond together and go back to the rooms that have become the bedroom for humans. I want to tell my partner but decide to let her sleep instead.
The construction workers are setting up outside, it is already 6:00am. I get into bed beside her and soon enough grab my phone to sketch out my morning with Chuckie the cat, aka “the owl”, aka “the duck”.
Back to sleep. I say a soft prayer. May Coffee become Chuckie’s new comfort, a protector like he has been with me on our daily walks.