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The Story of Ghost

Discussion in 'BoM Blogs' started by Dice, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    The first cat I ever had was shortly after my father died when I was 10. I had always loved cats and dogs and just about every other animal. But I could never have a cat because my father was highly allergic to them. So the summer following my fathers death I spent a couple weeks with some relatives in Saskatchewan and at the end of it came home with a black and white farm kitten of my choosing from the litter in their barn. I named him Patches and he lived a long time too.

    I got my second cat, about two years later. He was a friend to Patches after the two of them got fixed. I named him Heathcliff after a newspaper cartoon cat. We took him to a country vet when I was a teenager and somehow he escaped. I remember walking 5 or 6 miles in the dark - all the way to the vets house, when I was supposed to be in bed. I thought maybe I could find him but I had to turn around and go back without him. The next morning my mother told me that she had tried to call me to wake up in the night so we could go look for him but I didn't answer so she thought I must have been too soundly asleep. I still wonder if I had stayed home and not looked for him if I would have gotten him back.

    My third cat was very special to me. She was a replacement for Heathcliff and she was my first female cat. She needed a special name because she was black and symbolic of my occult interests in that time so I named her Seven. Seven and I were very close as human and feline can get sometimes. I found that I related to nature and animals better than I related to people so she was probably my confidant more than anything else. Not that I spoke a lot of words to her. I think she just understood me.

    I was 19 years old when my mother and one of my brothers found a little grey and white kitten abandoned in the ditch close to a small resort called Half Moon Lake. They brought her home and when I examined her I discovered a little white half-moon shape on her head. Seven hated her so much that she tried to cut open her belly. The vet said the wound was caused by teeth not claws which was no accident and it was likely that they would never get along. A different brother had recently bought a little house in an auction in a tiny town in Saskatchewan. He was living with his girlfriend in the same town so I made a deal to rent the little decrepit house from him and I moved out with my new kitten.

    Our time was brief in Saskatchewan, only about half a year. The newspaper want adds in the local largest town of Moosejaw were usually only a few lines and looking for mens job. (Moosejaw has an interesting history including underground passages that Al Capone was running booze through). There really was no work available for me so I lived off my small savings for a while and got to know the new freedom of first leaving home. So did Ghost. I had a large tan coloured pillow that soon became her pillow bed when she wasn't sleeping on the other furniture. I got another kitten in that brief time in Saskatchewan and named him Goblin. Him and Ghost liked each other well enough but I ended giving him to my brothers girlfriend when I moved back to Alberta. His life ended on the nearby train-tracks sometime after that.

    During the period that I was in Saskatchewan my mother decided it was time to sell the house at Cooking Lake . After a brief stay back at home and a first batch of kittens for Ghost, I found a job in the city and rented a little basement suite that allowed for pets. I managed to pay my rent and utilities and a few groceries. I always made sure that Ghost had food and kitty litter before I bought my stuff. She understood that and gave me love and mouse annihilation in return. As long as I always came home to her she was happy.

    The following years I moved around a bit. The best place was the one that followed. It was in an artist/university district of the city. I was in one of two bottom apartments in a 6 apartment building. My neighbors in the house next door were a couple of guys from a local comedy troupe. The neighbor upstairs on my side was a kind older man who studied lemurs and loved cats. The neighbor at the top was a lady and her boyfriend who were students for life. Ghost had already had one batch of kittens and I really wanted her to have one more batch before I got her fixed. Some friends of mine had a male Maine Coone and since I've always admired that breed I asked them if I could borrow him for a night.

    In that home I had a living-room and kitchen and bedroom all attached without doors between them. As you walked inside the entrance of the apartment to the right there was a large walk-in type closet and I made that my bedroom so I had a private place I could close the door if I ever needed it. One night when Ghost what heavily pregnant she came and scratched at the door fervently at around 3am. She led me to the bed I had prepared for her so she could have her kittens with me present. Her second batch of kittens was 6 just like the first. Gremlin was born in that batch.

    Gremlin was such a cool cat. He was the first to open his eyes. He was the first to crawl out of his basket, he had the loudest and the most vocal meow. He was also the largest, the smartest and the most that looked Maine Coone. I knew from the beginning that I would have to keep him and he was the Alpha male out of both batches.

    Gremlin and Ghost were my team for the next 5 years. I moved up to my moms new house in the bush for some months while I sorted things out and she convinced me that maybe art school would be a good idea. My mother still had Seven who did not like the idea of Ghosty being around again but Ghost was an adult and able to defend herself better and also Gremlin protected her. Sweet as he was he also had the habit of shredding bread packages in the middle of the night and pulling chocolate chip muffin papers out of the garbage. I worked on my portfolio that spring and summer and even though I was a very late admission they put me at the beginning of a waiting list and I was accepted in soon after. I rented an apartment a couple blocks away from my college on the west end of town. Life as an art student was a new phase in life.

    A lot of new people entered my life but Ghost and Gremlin were my constants. I spent a weekend with a horrible stomach flu crouching over the toilet. Ghost and Gremlin stayed with me perched on the edge of the bathtub. I would stay awake all night to finish a project for school and they would find sleeping locations to be near me and come and dip their paws in the brush water when I wasn't looking.

    After getting my art degree I found myself back in the south side again. I was in a two bedroom basement suite this time with a group of old bikers living upstairs who didn't give me any trouble and "lent" me cable television. Ghost would always stay close and sleep on top of the covers between my legs at night. Gremlin liked to go outside at night and hunt whatever he could find. The window in my bedroom lead to ground level outside on the side of the house and both cats would use that as their personal entry. One day Gremlin brought a live crow through the window. When he dropped it I had to catch the crow and release it unharmed back outside. When I first met my ex-husband, Gremlin greeted him one morning by throwing up on the livingroom floor beside the matress where my ex-husband slept that night. Gremlin was the type of cat to leave an impression. One morning I got a call from a local vet asking if my cat Gremlin was home. Someone had picked a cat up from the side of the road that had a tattoo number that matched his ID. I checked and the bedroom window was open. He lived for 5 years.

    Gremlin was soon replaced by a husband. My husband had to go back to his country while we applied for a landed immigrant status and during that time I made a sudden unplanned trip to Mexico from which I came back pregnant. Over the phone my new husband told me that I had to get rid of "that cat" because we had a baby coming. My views were different and still mattered at that time so I kept her. When I first brought home my new baby boy she would go running to the crib to check on him whenever he would start crying. As he got older she would sometimes sleep near his feet but never near his face. As the years started to pass she would often sleep with my oldest boy for a while but she would always end the night with me sleeping between my legs.

    Our second son was born 6 and a half years after the first. Ghost was as calm and understanding with the second child as she was with the first. At around the age of a year my second son did something to antagonize her and she clawed him close to the eye but there was no lasting damage, just a small scar. My husband, who comes from a culture that is more dog oriented, often complained about her and sometimes he would scare her for fun but he never actually hurt her. By the time my second son was reaching the age of three Ghosty was showing the effects of her age. She was seventeen when the vet said she only had a couple more years because of kidney failure. The rules of my duplex insisted that cats not be allowed outdoors anymore so I had to keep her inside which made her unhappy. She started having urinary accidents and my husband insisted that it was time to get rid of her. I couldn't put her down so I convinced my mom to take her for the last little while of her life. Ghost knew my moms house from the time I lived there and the yearly visits we would take in the summer. That year when the kids and I went home I felt very sad leaving her with my mom but I knew it was the best place for her. If she couldn't be with me at least my mother would love her too.

    Ghost got to enjoy spring at my mothers house which is a truly beautiful place is the spring. She became alive again and my mother regularly bought her fresh salmon to eat. She caught birds and a chipmunk which my mother wasn't happy about. In the early summer mom gave me a call and said that Ghost was acting kind of strange and sleeping a lot on her special pillow. The same large tan pillow I had given her as a young cat was also her deathbed. My mother took pictures of her alive and then one after she had died. She made copies of these and gave them to me the next time we saw each other. Ghosty got buried in the same place where some other pets are buried with pretty stones and pieces of clay.Gremlin is buried out in the bush too but I lost his grave a number of years ago.

    I don't know how Seven died. She disappeared into the woods one day - strangely she was around 7 years old. And patches died an old man cat with no teeth but still the ability to catch a bird. I have a painting of him hanging over my living-room couch called Nuclear Patches.

    The last photo I took of my Ghosty before she died was leaving my mothers house I took a photo of her running up the stairs. I combined that photo with another one I had and realized it was the perfect picture of her departure. I loved her for 19 years.
     
  2. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Nice story. ("Cool story, bro/sis." ;))

    I thought at first it was going to be a ghost story.
     
  3. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Very interesting!

    One thing that I didn't quite understand: Seven seemed like a very special pet to you; why did you leave her behind and take the new kitten Ghost with you when you left?
     
  4. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    @ Gaear - There were two things that I didn't include in the story. The first thing was that my boys and I were able to visit her for a weekend about a month after I had left her with my mother. The last night that I spent with her she would not sleep with me, she went and slept with my oldest son instead. It was her way of telling me that she was hurt that I left her even though I could never explain to her why I had to do that.

    The second thing I didn't include in the story was a dream I had about her almost a year later. I dreamed that my brothers old orange truck was parked on the driveway directly behind the back of my mothers house close to where she has a wooden stove and a smaller greenhouse. The truck was parked so it was facing a path that leads to an outhouse and then further down the path is where the pet graveyard is. In the my dream Ghosty was sitting on the hood of the orange truck in the sun. She was looking at me and happy and there to tell me she forgave me. Also she was translucent so I knew she was a real ghost.

    That being said, maybe it is sort of a ghost story.

    @ Blackthorne - Yes I always felt a little bad about Seven. The reason I left her behind was because I wanted both her and Ghost and she made it clear that she would kill Ghost if I kept both of them together. I did consider that at some time in the future when Ghost was an adult and able to fend for herself that I might be able to have both of them but that never happened. Ghost was always terrified of Seven and any other black cats she saw. Seven always hated Ghost and would only leave her alone because Gremlin would protect his mother. There were a couple years after Gremlin died and before Seven disappeared where the two would meet occasionally - we always had to separate them because their feelings never changed for each other.
     
  5. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I guess it's not clear the timeframe of events. It seemed like you had Seven for quite some time and grew very close. Then brother finds abandoned Ghost. Seven tries to kill Ghost right away or a significant time later that you ahve already become attached to Ghost?

    That's what was confusing to me. In the narrative, it seemed like you had just found Ghost and decided to leave with Ghost instead of Seven.
     
  6. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    Seven was special to me but I only had her about a year before Ghost arrived. I probably wasn't clear on the timeframe because I was trying to keep the piece focused on a couple of other aspects.
     
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