And that old time feeling
goes sneaking down the hall
Like an old gray cat in winter,
keeping close to the wall
— the prophet guy clark
You’re bumming about the day’s run. Uncle Hal has relegated it to a 14:30 pace, which meant saguaros were passing you at Usery the whole time.
And tomorrow is a gumbo 10K at 10:30 pace, which is way too fast and means you will either surely die or suffer the wrath of a “You Did Not Follow My Plan” Message of Shame.
You’re obsessed with running. It’s all that matters.
Until it isn’t.
You suddenly find yourself at the vet’s office. Something is very wrong with the Baby Kat. There seem to be three scenarios: One not so bad, one bad, and one very, very bad.
Suddenly, you are not obsessed with running in the least.
You wait. You hold hands. You try not to cry.
You think about how it’s sort of like being at the finish line waiting for someone. You know there’s suffering involved, but not how much. Will they make it? Are they stuck on the course? How long will it be? Will anyone notice if you sneak a bagel? Can you do anything without torturing a metaphor?
The suspense is terrifying. You pretend not to be nervous. It doesn’t work. You wait some more.
You remember that first day when she was barely born. The way she latched onto your shirt even though her eyes weren’t open. The way her claws dug into your heart and you knew it would be hers forever. The time she caught the hummingbird and then let it go. The road trips to Texas. The way she always sat just close enough to be aloof. That purr. This can’t be the end. And if it is, why did you waste all that time running when you could have been annoying her instead?
The vet comes in. It was the not so bad one. She says she’ll give you some morphine to take home, which sounds fantastic until you realize it’s for the cat. A week or so and hopefully everything will be OK.
You take her home. She lies down in the usual spot and gives you the “why the hell are you staring at me?” look. You eat pad thai and check the forecast for tomorrow.
You go back to being obsessed with running. 10:30 pace? What is Uncle Hal thinking? Maybe the cat won’t notice that you dipped into the morphine to make it through the last mile. That old time feeling …