Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hunger Strike

In Zuccotti Park:

I shot this a few weeks ago. I have no idea if he's eaten since then, or if he's got some kind of Bobby Sands deal going on (Wow, a Bobby Sands reference. I'll give a buck to anybody who knows what I'm talking about without having to look it up).

Well, my Roxy has come back to me. Actually, I picked him up at the vet after he was sent to whatever hopefully reputable pet cremation place they do business with and sent me back a bag of ashes, though they're not really "ashes," they're just the bones that are left over and then put into the cremulator which grinds them all up so you can disperse them with greater ease (if that's your desire).

I don't really expect that I got Roxy's actual remains back, despite the vet telling me that they deal with a very reputable place (and of course they're reputable. They included a certificate with that rainbow bridge poem/missive on it), and that I'd get back my lizard without any guinea pigs or chinchillas mixed in.

It's a small box with a machine carved top. There's a removable slot on the bottom. Inside they put a black drawstring bag, and in that is a double-sealed plastic bag with the remains. As I was riding home in the cab I filtered through them (bag closed) to see if I could find any larger, recognizable pieces. I was thinking about a girl I once knew who kept a bone set in resin around her neck that came from her dead cat. I'm not sure I'm ready to start a line of Roxywear, but I looked just the same. Some bones did make it through the cremulator, and look like they could be some metacarpals (or tarsals, who knows), or perhaps some broken up pieces of caudal vertebrae. I don't think I'm going to split him up. I'll keep him "whole" (such as he is).

The plan all along was to bury him in the backyard with the rest of the pets of my youth (well, their boxed up ashes), but maybe I'll keep him around for a little bit. And yes, I know he's not really a "he," they're just what's left after the cremation, but indulge me a little. It's not like I'm talking to the box or anything (crap, I think I might have).

Maybe I'm in no rush for him to make another last trip just yet. Hell, I haven't even touched his setup yet. I have this thing sitting in my apartment, this wooden-framed thing that's bigger than a telephone booth and smaller than an outhouse. It's been standing here for over 14 years. My girlfriend (at the time) and I built it exclusively for iguanas. Now it stands empty and dark. It's been almost two weeks since he died and I still haven't even touched the pillows I put around his cat stand, the pillows he'd fall on (because he was blind and all), and sleep on at night. I take comfort in those pillows. I look over there and think about him lying on the pillows, looking comfortable and happy. Blind, but happy in those days before the last month and a half of his life when things started to go downhill. You saw the picture from however many days ago. He was a king on his pillow as he was everywhere else in the apartment, blind or otherwise.

But eventually the pillows will be picked up and thrown out. The cat stand will end up in the hallway. The lights will be taken down. Finally I'll disassemble this thing that's dominated my apartment for almost 15 years. This structure that clearly looks like it was built by two people in their 20s that knew absolutely nothing about carpentry (and still don't, speaking for myself). Then I'll have a space to fill (which it will be).

In this past two weeks it's been weird. It's weird how it almost seems like it never was, like I never did have this thing that I fed and took care of and handled every day for 14.5 years, but I did. It's weird to think I can just move on with the removal of a habitat, but I will. But I won't, either. I mean, I'll move on. I know it sounds like I'm talking about a person here, but yes, I know I'm talking about a lizard. I know it it may sound silly, but they become such a part of your life...

Okay, enough rambling.

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