It's Father's Day this weekend and that seems like a really good time to not really but sort of indirectly talk about our deadbeat dad.
When Little Orphan Annie first started coming around last year I was afraid of her and her claws that could scratch me to death. I'd been really wanting a dog but not wanting to clean up barf or poop or be sad when the dog died, so I just loved dogs belonging to other people. But Annie was very persistent and just would not leave me alone. And, since I am not really a cold-hearted bitch, I was nervous about her being alone in the world and would pet her, feed her and talk to her all day long. One day, she put her paw on my leg and just as I was about to run away screaming, I noticed she had no claws! A cat without claws is basically A DOG! The deal was sealed.
I always felt bad for Annie. She was a good cat. She was curious and smart, loved the camera, and was easily annoyed by the ball tossing kids across the fence. Why would someone just abandon a cute little kid (I mean CAT) like that? She reminded me a lot of someone I knew many years ago.
When we were kids we had a dog named Sam. She was the best dog ever. We were the worst pet owners ever (I know this now). We were little kids. We didn't know how to take care of a dog and were doing our best to take care of ourselves in a bad situation. Sam was our best friend, our confidant, the furry ball of love we hid under our beds with. We probably didn't feed her the right food or walk her enough, and we certainly didn't give her enough baths. She didn't seem to mind. She'd sit with us for hours while we'd wait for a person who said they'd come get us but never showed up. She'd sit there with 8 hands petting her at the same time and just return the love. When other people failed us, Sam was always there. When we couldn't see her, we could for sure smell her.
Sometimes while I am working, from my window I watch the little boy next door play in my front yard. He's the one who came to get Annie after the earthquake. His single mom rents a room next door in a house painted the saddest shade of green. He's a good little boy. He likes to play Star Wars with his lightsaber and our apple tree as his shield. Sometimes I hear him telling other kids very magical stories about his dad who is rich and athletic and can do no wrong. He usually tells these stories while he waits for the perfect dad who is always way late in picking him up (I always wait to hear his his excuse), if he shows up. More recently, the perfect dad has been coming less and I noticed the little boy loving Annie more (when he'd get her back at night after I'd spend all day spoiling her).
I think I was about 13 years old when Sam was put to sleep. She was old and sick and smelled really bad. That part I remember. Our mom made an appointment to have Sam put to sleep and didn't tell us. I am sure she didn't know how to. I found out by accident when the vet's office called to confirm the appointment the day before and I answered the phone. I also remember wanting to throw up. The next morning, right before she went to the vet, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took the last photo of Sam. She was sleeping curled real tight in the family room in her favorite spot by the sliding door. Her head was resting on her fluffy tail, like usual. I've had this photo with me since then, like a prisoner who keeps a photo of a tropical island taped to the wall of his cell.
Shortly after Sam was put to sleep, we moved away.
A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were outside when the little boy came up to us to tell us Annie was dead. He said the neighbors found her body. She had been attacked by a coyote at night. He said it very matter-of-factly. I wanted to cry. But I didn't (then). We told him we were so sorry and that she was a great cat and tried to make him feel ok. We had to go somewhere and as we drove off, the little boy waved goodbye at us, grabbed his lightsaber and got to playing in our yard.
Today, Goth Wiccan packed up all her stuff and her little boy and they moved out.
Visit Linda Woods Artworks for prints on canvas, paper, or wood for all size spaces and budgets.