It is almost exactly one year since my beloved best friend and
soul-mate Xerox passed to her next life. She died March 24, 2003, at
about 2 am MST. She was enfolded in my arms, and we were in the
twilight of sleep. We'd spent the last two days of her life on Earth
inseparable, in almost constant physical contact; about an hour before
she took her last breath, we exchanged spirits, melding our souls into
one. She is a part of me now, and we will never be separated again.
Xerox would have been 20 years old this Saturday. We spent our life
together as true friends and constant companions. She went hiking with
me in the mountains; we went on week-long camping trips together. I
took her everywhere I could, often at a moment's notice, even when she
was on twice-daily fluids and multiple meds. She went fishing with my
husband, and loved to ride in my car with me. We often turned heads
when we drove through traffic in my little old Karmann-Ghia--she would
stand on the driver's seat, her feet in the space between my legs and
her paws on the top edge of the steering wheel. I would place my hands
low on the wheel, where they couldn't be seen from outside the car, and
it looked for all the world like Xerox was driving. She stared through
the windshield with great intensity, watching for potholes and puddles
and fast-moving cars cutting in front of us.
One night on the highway to Taos we chanced upon a 'blitz', a random
roadblock where the police were checking for drunk drivers. As the cop
approached our car to ask for ID, I rolled the window down a little bit
and slipped my finger under X's collar so she wouldn't be tempted to
jump out. Just as the guy shined his big flashlight into the car,
Xerox took a little jump toward the window, as though to charge at the
policeman, and hissed and spit. I'd never, ever seen her do that
before. Startled, the cop took a step back, and said, "Is that cat
mean?" "No," I replied. And before thinking further I continued, "she
just believes in the Fourth Amendment." (protects against illegal
search and seizure). The policeman looked at me strangely, and waved
us through the roadblock. Those 'blitz' things were later declared
unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. OK, well, maybe you need
to be a lawyer to see the humor in that story; but it remains one of my
favorite memories of Xerox. She was the smartest and deepest-thinking
cat I've ever known.
I never thought of her as 'my cat'. She was just "Xerox" (or, in her
younger, naughtier, more frivolous days, "Xorax, Kitty from Hell").
Just Xerox, my friend. The same as any of you are my friends. I never
said "my cat, Xerox," just as I never say "my human friend Pat or John
or Judy." I just said "Xerox." Our friendship transcended species
differences; the fact that she had fur and four legs, and I don't, made
no difference to us. She never looked down on me, never judged me; she
tolerated all my shortcomings, and put up with the most ridiculous
bullshit from me, including me dressing her up as Little Red Riding
Hood one Halloween and taking her to the office costume party. She
gave me The Look, as if to say, "I'm doing this because you are a
pathetic human and I love you dearly; but don't ask me for any favors
in the near future, ok?" But she did it; she walked beside me into
that pot-luck party, proud and feline. My Xerox. My copycat.
I will always miss her presence on my pillow, her impossibly rough
tongue licking the skin off my forehead (in my wedding pictures you can
see a little brown spot on my forehead: X's special kiss, where she
washed my head for a half hour the night before, just to make sure I'd
be ready for that big day; our anniversary is this Friday).
Xerox was a gift to this world. She's certainly on the Welcoming
Committee at the Rainbow Bridge, just as she was the Welcome Wagon
kitty at my home, always making the new rescue kitties feel secure and
Love your kitties especially well today, in honor of her memory.
She would want that. She was Love.
Chris, ever grateful to have known Kitty Xerox
"My cat knows everything about me, and loves me anyway."--Anonymous
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