The other day as I left the house, the sun cast a rainbow onto the sky, arcing high over trees and mountains and bruise gray clouds. Rainbows are my sister’s calling card, ever since we drove into one, chased it into the rain on the highway heading back East from California the day after Erika’s memorial. Her little kitty Rosie was in the car with us, tucked scared and dazed in her little carrier next to me.
After I spotted this recent rainbow, I called my mother and she told me that she had just been in the process of writing an email to tell us that Rosie died the day before.
They had found her curled peacefully outside in her little enclosure, where it had been a warm day and she she looked like she had been napping in the sun.
Rosie was a troubled kitty. She was a lover – a tiny Siamese with creamy short fur and delicate diamond marking on her brow – but she was also a pisser – and shitter! My first encounter with her was when I stayed with Erika in San Fran in 2007. Rosie had gone into my suitcase and peed and pooped on top of all my things, befouling the lot of it. Her gaze registered nothing but sometimes I wondered if there wasn’t a shadow of defiance hidden behind her cloudy blue eyes.
But Erika loved her. And she was cute. Erika had such patience for an animal who might otherwise have been euthanized long ago. She was traumatized by an apartment fire before she came into Erika’s possession and we’re not sure now how old she was. She outlived her savior by a bit more than five years. She lived with me in New York for six months before I decided I needed to leave New York and Rosie returned to my parents in Arkansas.
I loved her, but her proclivities were maddening and my cat allergies were unfortunately raging. Still, it was like having something of Erika with me – this creature she’d loved and nurtured. I took her to the vet and bought her nice cans of food. I bought her a water fountain and mixed canned pumpkin in with her food. She often crawled under the covers of my bed or curled on the feather puff at the foot of it. She didn’t poo or pee at first, but then she stayed with my cousins over Christmas and pooped on my cousin while she was sleeping. That was the end of the good behavior.
She had a blissful period of living in Erika’s and my old room before she befouled it so terribly that she was banished to the basement, where they furnished her with cushions and all the amenities, plus an enclosed outdoor area. Her first owner had declawed her, so she was pretty defenseless. I know she missed beds, though. Whenever I was home, I brought her up to sleep with me and she was on her best behavior (though my cat, Ivy, who also lives with my parents, was not amused by her presence).
She pounced and padded and rolled around on the bed and her enjoyment was palpable. When I brought her to the porch if it was sunny out, she only wanted to be in the bedroom! She had simple desires: a soft bed and yummy food and sweet cuddles.
Erika was always sympathetic to the needs of the voiceless animals. She had such a heart full of love. I’m glad we kept Rosie the problem kitty, in the spirit of my kindhearted sister, who sent a rainbow to remind us she’s not gone – she’s just existing differently than before.
My dearest sister is now riding the skies with her sweet celestial Rosie. She’s already a part of the tattoo on my shoulder, held in Erika’s arms. I think this year I’ll have her colors darkened when I get my tattoo touched up.
Love and cuddles,