Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Move On

Gong - 325 words
Sarah Van Name

Our first act as roommates was to buy a cat. Irma’s family cat, String Cheese, had recently passed away, and after she came back carrying all of this feline paraphernalia we figured there could be no better time. Our cat was a dark tawny gold and fat as anything, with short sausage legs. His purr was percussive. We named him Gong.

(There was no discussion of what would become of him after Irma and I split, but like young lovers waking up next to each other for the first time, we failed to consider the possibility of separation.)

Gong lived the good life for two years sleeping on top of our dirty clothes. We were careful pet-owners – bought him a million of those little colored mice and kept him unnecessarily plump. And then, suddenly, life wobbled and shifted in preparation for a change.

Eric, the guy I had been dating for almost two years, asked me to move in. I accepted, feeling the shiver of the future rush through me. The same night, Irma got a phone call offering her a job at an environmental research center in Alabama. She accepted.

Both of us, when feeling Gong’s reproachful engine-revving purr flit in and out of our thoughts, were comforted by the presence of the other in our old rented house. But Eric was terribly allergic to cats and the new job entailed a new place, an apartment complex that was “green” but unwelcoming to pets.

Irma refused to put him in the pound again, and so did I. After weeks of desperate phone calls, the parents of a girl I had once babysat told me of some family friends whose cat had just passed away.

Irma and I drove him over there together. The family had a little girl, blonde and shy, and while we talked to her parents, Gong curled himself among her legs like wind ‘round sequoias, purring a distant and harmless thunder.

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