Kevin – he has carved his own place into our home, hearts and legs/hands/feet
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Brutus asks Rocky to stand by The Brutus Tree
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Today Brutus and Rocky were in the garden by ‘The Brutus Tree’ – which is Brutus’s favourite tree, the one he likes to stand under and gaze at for hours on end, especially when it is a full moon.
It all happens under this tree, doggy meetings, trying to pull next doors cat out of it, chasing rats up the tree, catching rats, staring at the tree because invisible dogs might come out of it. You name it, it happens under The Brutus Tree. Rocky doesn’t quite get the magic of it all but does enjoy chatting over a dog beer with Brutus under the tree while putting the world to rights.
It was a beautiful sunny morning in the garden, there was that smell of freshly cut grass mixed with warm sun and fresh air that makes you think that Spring is on its way along with excitement, rabbits, smelly bones, fox shit and opportunities.
‘Do you know what day it is today Brutus?’ Rocky asked his brother.
Without even turning round, Brutus cocked his head to the side, ‘Why yes, it’s Mum’s day off of course’, he said happily and carried on staring at his tree.
Rocky rolled his eyes, ‘Have another think about it!’.
Brutus slowly turned to face Rocky, ‘Yes of course I know, I just don’t want to talk about it.’ then shrugging, Brutus walked to his water bowl where he could be heard slurping up his water in messy great big gulps while Rocky looked on trying to decide whether or not to play with his tennis ball or chase the invisible dogs that frequented our garden.
‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked the little kelpie.
‘Come and sit by the tree with me.’ Brutus said firmly.
‘Why?’ Rocky frowned, ‘You are obsessed with that tree!’
‘Special things happen under that tree, you mark my words.’ Brutus said knowingly.
Rocky got up and went to join his brother where they both sat upright and focused on the top of the tree.
‘Why are we doing this, what will happen?’ Rocky asked him.
‘You will have to trust me on this one….’ Brutus growled. And with that, Rocky had to do just that.
Inside the house
I was making myself a coffee while taking frequent glances at Kevin to see what he was up to. His solid fluffy ginger body was wrapped around Rockys blanket. His back legs bicycling furiously as they kicked, Kevin repeatedly muttered stuff such as ‘Bollocks’ and ‘Death to all humans’ as he fought and won a nasty battle with the red blanket on Rocky’s bed.
Basically everyone was going about their business, it was a typical Sunday morning with nothing unusual about it.
I walked into the spare room which is meant to be an office but kind of looks a bit messy as other stuff has migrated into it. You know what it’s like, put it out of sight and it’s out of mind and your spare room fast becomes a home for things that have no other home but still gets called ‘the office’.
I took in the sight of the room and its clutter and remembered how it used to be. The grey plastic bed on the floor, the litter tray, the food bowls, the toys but most importantly, Gordon.
This was Gordon’s room, or at least it used to be. He loved that room as well, where as Kevin just didn’t like to be in it which is why we moved him to the front room so he could see the parrots and the dogs. But Gordon really loved his room.
Gordon’s room after he crossed over to Rainbow Bridge – oh so empty!
Photograph by Samantha Rose)
I felt a lump in my throat, it was exactly a year ago today that we sent our precious Gordon to Rainbow Bridge and I remember it clearly as though it were yesterday. Driving along to the vets while playing Lion King – Circle of Life in the car as we drove our 15 year old majestic ginger cat to complete his final journey from London to Perth.
You can read about that here.
I still miss him and while it sounds daft to some, the gap he left in our house was and still is enormous. Kevin has not replaced Gordon by any stretch, but he has carved out his own place – both in our house, in our hearts, on our leather sofa and on my legs/hands/arms (with his nails).
‘I miss you Gordon, I miss you so much it hurts,’ I said out loud to nobody in particular. Biting my lip to stop myself crying, I walked into the dining room to see what Kev was up to. Spotting him playing with the blinds and shredding the shit out of the dining room chair, I smiled and went back towards the kitchen.
‘Well he’s a handful isn’t he? In my day we had more respect’ A ginger voice piped up from out of nowhere. A familiar ginger well spoken English ginger voice and one that could simply not be mistaken.
‘I said in my day we had more respect!’ The voice repeated loudly.
I felt my heart racing, taking a deep breath I turned round – Kev was still playing, oblivious to everything, he had heard nothing. I could no longer hear him swearing (Kev has Tourettes and swears like a trooper as you can gather). Kev’s mouth was opening and closing, I could see him mouthing the word ‘Bollocks’ but no sound was coming out.
‘Your eyesight is failing you, we shall need to get you a Labrador to guide you,’ The ginger voice laughed.
I quickly looked into the dining room again and there sitting on the orange sofa that was once his, was Gordon looking young, fit and handsome with his ginger coat looking thick and plush.
Gordon – making a guest appearance in my imagination
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
‘Gordon, no way! I thought only animals could see each other once they have crossed over, I must be dreaming!’ I babbled and then promptly burst into tears.
‘Yes, well you always have been a bit special. What is it with you talking to the parrots in the morning, such a traitor – you can’t trust those galahs you know!’ Gordon grinned at me and then looked at Kevin who did not appear to see myself or Gordon.
‘You have been through the wars haven’t you,’ Gordon said as he weaved himself in and out of my ankles, ‘I have been watching you.’
I wiped my eyes and sniffed, ‘It’s been a tough year and Kev is hard work.’
Gordon laughed, ‘I could eat that for breakfast!’ he nodded at Kevin who continued to fight with himself on the floor.
‘I am so sorry, so very very sorry!’ I blurted out, and I was as well. Sorry for keeping him longer than was good for him, sorry for not doing what was right for him sooner and just, well sorry for anything I may not have done right.
‘You did what was right in the end and life is pretty good now you know,’ Gordon replied. ‘In fact, it’s rather marvellous, besides – I couldn’t have done it without that final cuddle.’
That final cuddle to send him on his way
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
Sitting beside him on the orange sofa, I pleaded inside my head that Kevin would notice us – but he didn’t or couldn’t.
‘He can’t see me you know, his time for seeing me is done and it is also his time to become the cat of the house. He has no need to see me.
‘This is your turn and you are exceedingly lucky to have it,’ Gordon explained and snuggled into me and added, ‘Not all humans get that chance.’
He had the same delicious ‘cat smell’ that I remembered, he felt so plush and soft, yet solid in build. His purr was loud and comforting it and his health was as it used to be when he was young.
We sat for what seemed ages chatting about Rainbow Bridge, about Rocky and Brutus, about Kevin and our lives as they are now.
‘Well I had better go now, I have a mouse meeting at Rainbow Bridge shortly and I don’t want that tabby down the road getting the upper hand,’ Gordon stood up, shook his tail and had a good stretch.
Oh no, it was going to hurt all over again and I simply could not stand it. ‘Do you have to go, can’t you stay long enough for the dogs to see you? Please, I will do anything!’ I pleaded with him.
Gordon yawned, his eyes focused on me while Kev still played and swore silently on his own and in his own world. As though an invisible yet unbreakable barrier separated us. I actually do not know who was in their own world, myself and Gordon or Kevin.
‘One last hug?’ I asked him.
‘Go on then!’ Gordon relented and allowed me to pick him up.
Gasping at his weight, he must have weighed over 7kgs, ‘I am in my prime don’t forget,’ Gordon laughed.
I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent, cradled his solid body, smoothed his fur and felt his purr as it rattled out of his throat.
(you will often find your cats/dogs will smell unique to you and have their own wonderful smell and if you don’t believe me, go and sniff them).
‘Goodbye my darling boy and thank you!’ I cried quietly into his fur.
‘No, thank YOU!’ Gordon whispered back.
My moment was rudely interrupted when a voice yelled, ‘What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing? Have you got some kind of death wish?’ Kevin’s voice ripped through my ears like a child with a sinus problems (Kev sounds like a kid with bad adenoids when he meows).
What the heck? – Ouch that hurt!’ I opened my eyes just in time to feel Kev latch on to my arm and kick the shit out of it. I had been cuddling Kevin all along.
‘I do not DO cuddles – ever!’ Kev said looking absolutely furious. Then jumping out of my arms, he walked off taking his floofy arse with him and went into his litter tray.
‘No, I guess you don’t….’ I half laughed, half cried and wiped my eyes. Kev was in his litter tray muttering something about ‘shitting for Australia’.
‘Don’t know what you are looking so happy about, I’ve got turd in my pantaloons and you will have to brush it out!’ Kev hissed at me and took a swipe at my leg.
I walked over to the window and saw Rocky and Brutus under the Brutus Tree, still staring at it without moving or even blinking.
Outside in the garden
‘Are we done yet? Can we stop staring at the tree?’ Rocky said impatiently.
Brutus turned round and saw me looking at him through the patio door. I smiled at him, he looked so cute with his huge ears and big brown bum.
Brutus wagged his tail, ‘Yeah, I think we are done now!’
‘I still don’t get what is so special about that tree?’ Rocky shook his head.
‘It’s magic that’s all, it just makes things happen,’ Brutus replied as he admired his tree.
We were all curled up on the sofa – well we had given Kevin had a wide berth as he likes to attack feet but other than that, we were snuggled up about as much as you can with a ginger ‘kitten shark’.
‘Mum, can you believe that it’s a year today that Gordon left us,’ Rocky nudged me with his snout.
I smoothed Rocky’s ears down and told him that yes, I knew that and it is also coming up for a year that we bought Kevin home.
‘And don’t you forget it either! I could eat you all if I wanted to!’ Kev growled and then bit my foot hard (no really he did bite me and I have the scar to prove it).
‘Yeah and don’t we know it! I heard that you tried to eat the vet and the nurse yesterday when they tried to cut your nails!’ Brutus said to Kev before looking at Rocky and saying ‘He did you know and rumours have it, he tied them both up and cooked them for tea with nachos!’
Kev said nothing and looked somewhat smug curled up on his blanket with his beloved squeaky squirrel between his paws. He had found his place in our little family and he knew it.
‘Brutus?’ Kevin asked him.
‘Yes Kev,’ Brutus said hesitantly while trying to tuck his legs under him to stop Kev savaging them.
‘Can I ask you about that tree in the garden…..?’ Kevin replied.
Brutus looked at Kev with a surprisingly wise look for such a young dog, ‘It’s a magic tree Kevin and one day when you are old enough, I shall tell you all about it.’
And with that Kevin had to be content.
Magic – we all need a bit of it in our lives, it just helps the world go round.
Samantha Rose Copyright © August 2018