I’m so sorry. I must grieve, and this is only part of the process.
Time to go to the bus station. I have nearly 700 miles to travel today. It’s an emergency, and my trip is cut short. I have to get home, and this is the only way I could figure out how. My cat is ill, and he needs me. It’ll only take me until midnight to get home, which is not nearly fast enough.
The bus is finally here. I’m not looking forward to the four and a half hour bus voyage I have to take today, but it’ll be worth it as soon as I’m home with my boy. I feel impatient as the attendant loads my luggage into the compartment under the bus. I want to go home.
I’m sick with worry, but I’m waiting on my transfer bus to arrive. The cute, bubbly young man next to me is talking away, and I listen to him even though my mind is at home with my beloved, sick pet. He needs me.
The young man and I are optimistic. We’re riding the bus together and talking about anything and everything and giggling about the sketchy towns that we keep passing through. For the first time since yesterday, I feel like everything is going to be Ok. I tell him about my pet. He’s sympathetic.
“Good luck with your cat. I hope he gets better. It was nice riding with you!”
I’m at the airport now. My plane doesn’t even board until 8PM. Not sure what I’m gonna do all day since it’s near impossible to get an uber somewhere else and I’m not walking through a city I don’t know. I decide to go ahead and go through airport security and see if they’ll let me check my impossibly heavy luggage in early.
I’m so lucky there wasn’t a big line for the security check in, not to mention how the staff agreed to let me out my luggage to be checked for the plane. I spot a seafood place as soon as I’m through security. I’m hungry, so let’s eat!
My food is here. I’ve never had an oyster po’boy before. I sink my teeth in and it’s amazing. The waiter tells me how famous this restaurant is. I’m impressed!
My roommate calls me. She’s crying into the phone for about twenty seconds. She can’t catch her breath or speak.
I’m sobbing into my plate, tears running down my face as I struggle to breathe. The sight of my barely touched food makes me want to puke. I call my mom.
I can’t breathe still, but my mom is there for me. She’s handling everything for me and insisting on paying for the cremation. She’s talking about taking me away to find another special needs, disabled pet to adopt. It’s killing me. I order two shots of vodka. The waiter doesn’t comp my meal.
My legs are like concrete. I wander the airport in silence, barely able to lift my legs to take another step. I stop at another restaurant and order two more shots, tears in my eyes and my voice wavering. The bartender is tender as he checks my ID.
I don’t want to go home anymore.
After I land, my friend picks me up from the airport. He’s careful not to ask about my cat, and just gives me one of his famous hugs, the effect amplified by his huge frame wrapping around my tiny body. I try not to cry into his shoulder.
My belly is full with the first actual food I’ve managed to finish eating for the entire day. I look at my darkened house, and it doesn’t look like home anymore. I go inside, and my roommate is in the living room. She stinks of alcohol and can barely speak.
I take another swig of vodka. The emptiness next to me is too much for a sober mind to bear. The bell on the collar around my wrist jingles, and for a moment I wonder if my cat is awake and about to climb onto my bed. I take a sharp breath as I remember that it’ll never happen again.
I sleep alone for the first time in nearly 16 years.