(1989) - August 25, 2003
You were a good friend.
I just lost a friend of fourteen years. Willy is dead. This is my tribute to him.
He died in my arms tonight, about an hour ago. I'm still breaking into random fits of tears. I'm not proud of that, but there's nothing I can do about it. It hurts, dammit, and I'm not going to try and hide that.
For those of you who read my story, I don't know what this is going to do to it. Willy was the "other half" of Jake - he provided the physical description, the basis of what Jake looked like. An orange cat, with marmalade stripes and hazel eyes. I'll never see him again... except in my memories. Willy, I miss you already.
He first came into my life fourteen years ago. We weren't sure how old he was, but he was a double handful of orange fluff, all purrs and big eyes. I liked him from the start, and I believe it was mutual. I wasn't there when he was found, but it doesn't matter.
My sister was on a band trip for the school marching band. Their bus broke down on the freeway, and they were waiting by the side of the road for a replacement bus. Someone noticed this kitten out in the middle of the road - apparently, someone had abandoned him. From what I understand, he scrambled across the freeway, under some of the traffic, and shot under the bus. There was only one volunteer to go under the bus after him - Karina. She recovered him, and she and the band director, Miss Steed, spent the rest of the trip "taking care" of him - his first hard-core fans.
When the trip was over, Karina brought him home, knowing Mom would probably pitch a fit about it. Well, Mom wasn't happy, but the decision was already made - Willy had a home.
When Karina moved out, college-bound, in 1991, Willy went with her. He lived with her for nine years, until she got a job teaching in South America. Rather than subject him (and his adopted sister, Cassie) to the horrors of international travel and quarentine, Karina allowed me to take custody of the pair - a charge I was delighted to accept. They stayed with me through my own second attempt at college, and accompanied me on my move up here to Oregon.
Old age finally caught up with him. I arrived home today to find him partially striken, and I took him immediately to the vet, who confirmed what I already knew - and was afraid of. He died peacefully in my arms, still purring to the last. I'm glad I was there, no matter how much I wish it hadn't happened. Willy, I'll never forget you. Be well, wherever you are... my friend.