Good bye, Priya

Today, I heard the heart-breaking news about the passing of one of my cats who’s living with my ex. One grieves the death of a pet as if it were one’s child.

I found Priya as a kitten on Reliance street six years ago. We took care of him together, introducing him to our then two cats, Mimi and Tumi. My sister who was then without a child volunteered to take Priya in after we’ve medicated his fleas problem and dewormed him.

I named him Priyanka Chopra or Priya because I originally thought he’s female. He was a feisty kitten and very pretty. We had him neutered as soon as he turned six months.

Several months later, my sister got pregnant and so Priya had to be returned to us. He took some time to adjust living again in a house with two cats who were now much bigger and older than when he first met them.

Priya preferred my ex over me; in fact, I was a little afraid of smothering him. Unlike Mimi and Tumi whose reactions to having their claws clipped I was already quite familiar, Priya was unpredictable. He did not want to be carried by me and would hide under the bed when he knew I was approaching.

When my then partner and I broke up, Priya stayed with my ex because Tumi needed more attention and had to go through several medical operations. I’d visit them every now and then until the pandemic happened.

This morning, I learned about Priya’s passing, his body found near his water bowl, rigor mortis already setting in. He had refused to eat in the last few days.

Priya was, is loved. I am forever grateful to my ex for loving Priyanka.

This post is my way of remembering the life Priya has lived, though much of it I was not around to see him grow. Our pets and the lives they live are subject to the changes in the relationships we have, our fickleness, the ravages of time whose effects we only realize when we’re confronted by their permanent absence, the vicissitudes of our changing fortunes. The finality of death.

I hope that Priya felt truly loved and safe, that he was cared for. He was buried in the house of the parents of my ex’s new partner. I am forever grateful to them for providing the cat a burial he deserves—dignified and quiet.

Good bye, Priyanka Chopra. I shed tears this morning, a lot of it, because I know I will not be able to see you again, nor will I be able to clip your claws again, but know that we love you. Very much, kitty cat.

Has it really been 14 years?

It’s been almost half a lifetime ago; dreams were realized, forgotten, deferred, or altogether scrapped since.

Time has this very uncanny way of making us feel it’s always within our grasp, but then one day, as ordinary as today, we’re made aware in an almost too brutal way that we only had it until it lasted.

Talpakan

This Sunday, I modeled for my long-time tattoo artist for a competition; he won second place. It was a revelation to see a sliver of tattoo subculture that was unknown to me before.

I lay on my side for 12 hours, save for short cigarette breaks my artist would take. Until now, I do not know how I survived those 12 hours of boredom, intermittent switching from convulsing pain and numbness, and being glared at by curious strangers.

Biding

It’s beginning to become more frequent and uncontrollable–that barrage of recollection of terrible dreams and the negative thoughts that follow when I wake up in the morning, every day.

I can always blame the pandemic, the lockdowns that do not seem to end, the suffocating feeling of being cooped up in a box for days on end and to only leave this box to buy food, walk the pets, or see a doctor for a check-up or a treatment.

I can always blame the weather, which for the last few weeks has been rather gloomy and rainy. The high humidity at night doesn’t help.

I can always blame the news, which has been filled with reports on the failures after failures of this government, punctuated only by depthless viral social media happenings that are labeled news, which, it is hoped, would dull the unacknowledged pain and rage of the consuming public. Most people would rather delude themselves than confront the truth that they have been taken for a ride by the man in Malacanang and his ilks.

I may also blame the plans that have to be set aside, postponed, ended altogether because the future has been rendered more uncertain by the events of late. For how can one look forward to the future with hope when the anxiety of sickness, death, debility blocks the view, becoming the most dominant element of the landscape, becoming the landscape itself?

But blaming these that are clearly outside my control may offer a temporary balm, easing for a brief moment the real emptiness that’s a routine part of being alive. I’d let the memory of those dreams and despondency stick around for a while until I force myself out of the bed, make coffee, and begin the day.