Giving up...But Maybe Not
The drive up north was grueling. By that time, I was driving an old clunker that could barely make it up the I5 freeway. The air conditioner stopped working going up the Grapevine and Maude and Squeeky were suffering terribly. By the time we got to Oregon, Maude was acting strangely; climbing up and down the seats, crying almost croaking sounds. Panicked by her behavior, I held her on my lap as I drove. I was relieved when she quieted down in the motel room, but her breathing became more and more labored, and just over the border into Washington, she died in my arms. I pulled into a rest stop and broke down and cried. My very best friend in the world for sixteen years was gone. I had put her through hell – moving from place to place, forcing her to adjust to new houses and new people while she stayed ever faithful, never complaining, always loving and talking to me to the very end. I held her close all the way to my mother’s house and buried her next to my father’s favorite rose bush. Now the only cat left of my entire brood was Squeeky and I hoped he wouldn’t leave me for a long, long time. He was all I had left.
Adjusting to life in Marysville was like a dead person adjusting to purgatory. I saw myself as a pitiful failure and didn’t much care about anything. I was breathing but my existence bore no resemblance to life. I went through the motions of living: spent time with my sister and family, signed with a temp agency and went to my various jobs and spent my days feeling like a zombie. But, being a good actress, I made sure no one knew how I felt and that no one suspected that I was really no longer alive. At night, I would hold Squeeky and cry and face the horror of possibly having to stay up there for the rest of my life.
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