While taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago, people drifted in and out of my life on a daily basis. I believe that things happen for a reason and always embraced the opportunity to meet new friends. I am still astounded at how a small group of people seemed to orbit throughout my entire walk. We often joked that saying goodbye was just a waste of breath. I called these special people “shadows”. I paid extra attention to them knowing that they all had a lesson to deliver.
Four years ago, my girlfriend had an injured cat that moved into my house for some privacy to recuperate after an attack. The girlfriend became an ex, but the cat never checked out. I did not considered myself to be a cat person, but I developed a pretty cool relationship with this grey feline. He became a constant companion. My travel plans for the current year have me out of Boise for at least 4 months. It is not fair to my neighbors or my pet to leave him alone for such extended periods of time. I made the tough decision to find a friend to adopt the grey wonder. I posted a few of his purrfect headshots and made a plea on Facebook.
32 years ago, my dad drove me to Tacoma, WA and kicked me to the curb at The University of Puget Sound. My very first friend, George, was my initial roommate. We went through rush together and ended up joining the Sigma Nu Fraternity. We developed a nice friendship over the next four years. After college we did not stay in touch until he showed up on Facebook a few years ago. Guess who responded to my recent plea?
We spoke on the phone and he agreed to adopt the Fluffster. One minor issue was that George lives in the Seattle area and I live in Boise. Coincidentally that happens to be a 500 mile journey. On a phone call, I offered to fly or drive my cat to his home but was floored when he said, “I really enjoy road trips and think it would be best for the cat to avoid a flight.” After three decades, George appeared on my doorstep last week.
We spent the next few days trying to eliminate the 28 year void. We dined at Goldy’s, walked through the marble halls of the Idaho Capitol, devoured steaks at Barbacoa, hiked on the Greenbelt, drifted down the Boise river, and enjoyed a sunset at Table Rock. We have some similar life stories and enjoyed sharing tales from our past. This incredibly thoughtful friend knew that I would suffer so he brought me a shell from his beach to set on my desk to remind me of Fluffy. I do not think it is random that this cat brought a powerful shadow back into my life.
Things were going well until I began wrapping newspaper around the cat dishes and toys. Tears dripped on the newsprint as the items were arranged in a cardboard box. His favorite cardboard box! George and the cat left for Seattle early on Wednesday morning.
I have been processing this entire event all week and it is loaded with so many nuggets. I am in awe of such a selfless act of kindness towards me and the love for an unknown pet. I am in awe knowing that true friendships survive dormancy and do not have expiration dates. I am lucky to know that nothing lasts forever and letting go is part of life.
George continues to send me photos and daily updates as Fluffy is being integrated into his new home on Puget Sound. The new sisters, Onyx and Topaz, are slowly adapting to their new brother. I asked if the cat is now a Seahawk fan and was quickly informed that he likes the Green Bay Packers.
Change is always tough, but often necessary………