Each morning I stumble into the bathroom. I shower, digesting the events of the previous day and getting ready for the new one.
And each morning, Mew would hear. She would hop over to the carpet and lie down by the door in wait.
No matter how treacherous yesterday was, she would stand up as I walked out and stroll over to say hello, rubbing up against the dampness in my hair and reminding me that even if yesterday was a slog, today was going to be alright.
I found Mew somewhat haphazardly. It was during a production of “The Wizard of Oz” for community theater. I was a flying monkey. During intermission one night, I stepped outside the stage area for a breathe of air, and there she was, beneath an adjacent set of steps, mewling against the cold wind.
She had a bad respiratory infection and had broken free of a local farm. If she found her way back, we were told, she would surely be shot. If she didn’t, she would freeze.
So I made sure we cajoled her away from the steps (after 30 minutes of trying), and we were off. And she was thankful.
Mew was a survivor. A few years back, a tumor began to take hold of her leg. It was removed twice to no avail. Amputation was the only cure to the malady.
She endured countless vet visits. And even as the surgeons prepared for their work, swabbing the applicable areas with iodine, she licked them. The cancer was licked, too.
Later, she contracted diabetes. She received two shots a day (always licking your hand as the syringe went down). But she ran around, jumped all over the place and ate like a WWI war horse.
There was no lap too uncomfortable for Mew. No hand not worthy of affection. 14 years of life, but only for the past 24 was she disheartened.
Today, on the table, the life slowly draining from her eyes, I gave her a last kiss. And she tried hard to return it, her head lifting slightly, tongue flopping uselessly out of her mouth. But I knew. She meowed, hoarse but calm, as if to say she understood, and that things would get better.
Today was not a good day. Tomorrow probably won’t be, either. There will be no captive audience when I open that bathroom door again.
But when I step around the spot instinctively, I’ll remember, and know things will get better. Because that’s what she told me. And she never lied.