Lydia’s Ashes

When I was fourteen, my mother got me a scraggly little kitten with unusually bad breath. She was white with black on her ears, a black Gorbachev birthmark, and a black tail. She was supposed to live outside, which never happened, not even for a day.

I named her Lydia, and she was the best darn cat. She grew up to be fat, super cuddly, and slightly anxious. But fairly tolerant when it came to things like wearing a pirate eyepatch or a ridiculous monkey shirt. My mom used to vacuum her to get rid of loose hair. This only worked because my mom hid the vacuum cleaner around the corner and used the attachment to vacuum Lydia. Why the sound alone didn’t scare her, I have no idea. She was normally frightened by anything new or unexpected. The scaring-your-cat-with-a-cucumber thing hadn’t been popularized yet. I can promise you, Lydia would have jumped six feet at the unexpected appearance of any sort of produce.

Yeah, she was pretty awesome.

When she died, fourteen years later, I had her cremated. They sealed her ashes in a plastic bag, put them in a shiny black urn, then sealed the urn. And she rested peacefully on my shelf for sixteen years.

Until today, when my young cat Winnie tore through the house, knocking the urn to the floor. The lid rolled off, and I was very grateful that Lydia’s ashes were contained within a baggie.

It was bound to happen, and Lydia would have understood that. She was quite destructive herself when she was young.

Needless to say, the urn has been packed away, and there it shall remain until Winnifred gets older and less energetic.


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