Sunday, 14 October 2012

167: Goodnight Mister Tom

Your whiskers have always been white but your hair used to be sleek and dark.  Pale hairs pepper your body now, especially around your nose and mouth.  On some they would be distinguished.  On you, they just look like you’ve aged a hundred years.

You struggle to get out of your bed, especially in the morning after a long sleep, or when the weather turns damp outside.  Your joints creak and crack so much as you stand that you must be on pain.  You never let it show in your face, though.  You’re always just as contented as you have always been.

You don’t eat as much as you used to, picking at your meals and choosing the softest bits first.  You still love your favourites, chicken and fish and those spicy crisps you like so much.  You always gobble that right up.  Have you lost weight from not eating as much?  And you sleep at funny times now, awake all night long when you used to be out patrolling the street, and awake watching the world go by from a sunny window sill during the day.

You gave everyone a scare when you were ill, sick so much and not even drinking water.  It looked like your time had come.  But then you started on that new treatment and you got better, not quite the same Mister Tom as before, but close enough.  You won’t do that again will you?  There would only be one option left for you then.  It wouldn’t be right to see you in pain.  You’ve had a long life but surely you’re not ready to quit yet, are you?

I couldn’t face making that decision.  I’m not ready to lose you.  The vet said you could go on for years or maybe one morning you just wouldn’t wake up any more.  I like to keep an eye on you and keep you close by me.  So I’ve moved you into my room, in case you need me.  You leave hairs on the pillow and I wake with cat dribble in my ear at least once a week.  But I do like to say goodnight right into your ear, every night.

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