Some days I can’t get over how senseless this whole thing has been. How a creature so loved could disappear in an instant, and how so many months could pass, getting so close at moments, and at other times feeling so far away. Rainy days are the worst, in some ways more heartbreaking than the snowy ones because at least Mari loved the snow. It was awful to think about her out in the cold, but I could imagine her on a midnight romp through a field cutting crazy paths and loops like some sort of tentacular crop circles. Right now she should be sitting on her window seat, looking out her window and sighing at how it’s too slimy to play outside. And she’d breathe such epic, world-weary sighs, we’d crack up, and then she’d thump her tail twice in case laughter meant an indoor romp or maybe even a treat.
We adopted Mari in the spring, so we’ve been missing her more than usual lately, and it’s been tough to summon the energy to post. Of course we’ve missed her all this time but life tries so hard to fill in holes. The first month was the absolute worst when we were spending 16-18 hours a day walking and postering and calling people and trying to find support. Every moment went to thinking about her and missing her. But we couldn’t keep that up — we had to work, take care of ourselves somehow, start living again — and I remember the first morning I “overslept” because I was out of the habit of waking at the same time each morning to feed Mari. I felt like an awful person because I’d somehow forgotten or let life creep into the Mari-shaped hole, but it happens — every day she isn’t here.
It’s spring, and the hole feels big again. This is when we’re supposed to start taking Mari out for longer walks, enjoying the extended daylight and the hiking weather and grumbling about the rain together. And I keep thinking about ticks. Mari really attracts them. The first year we had her, despite all of our checks and using Frontline and everything, she got something that was basically a precursor to Lyme disease. She went through a round of meds and was fine, but it was scary that she could get something like that despite our vigilance.
There was one time we found a tick we couldn’t take off — it was really in there and we didn’t want to hurt her, so we called her vet who said to bring her in and he’d do the removal between patients. Her vet’s amazing, but of course she hated going there — such a strange place with weird smells and she’d have to get her blood drawn — and she always knew as soon as we parked that we were going to That Place. She’d sit right in the street and refuse to cross, so Andrew would scoop her up and carry her — very ignominious. Then she’d begin quivering. By the time we’d get in, she’d be trembling and shedding and making herself very small.
So on the day of the giant tick, she was shaking with terror, but there was also a cat in a carrier. Mari thinks every cat is her nemesis, so even though she was terrified, she wanted to show the cat who was in charge, so she was shaking and writhing to get down either to go after the cat or to make a run for it, and the tick popped off and landed on the floor. Her vet came out, picked up the tick with a pair of tweezers and said, “It’s full” before disposing of it. We left without her ever having to enter the exam room.
As soon as we left, she could walk again and was full of big grins and wags and ready for a treat because she’d been such a brave and tough thing. Andrew, of course, was covered in fur, the only evidence of our briefly scared sol.