Luzia's Anton

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who loses their cat.... view prompt

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Drama

A birthday present this was, Luzia thinks solemnly.

She steps back from the makeshift grave, a frown settling into the lines of her face. Sweet little Anton had been her best friend - perhaps it isn't a stretch to say that he still is - for fifteen years. Childishly she avoided the thought that he would be going soon for years. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen... every year he'd grown older, and every year she'd posted his photo to her blog with a happy birthday message he'd never actually read. A minuscule, youthful part of her truly did believe Anton may live forever, but the adult majority had shoved that to the back of Luzia's mind each time. Cats don't always live to fifteen, it reminded her. Shouldn't you be happy with the time you spent?

The morning after Luzia buries him, she finds herself sitting in his favorite napping spot. She had always sat on the opposite end of the sofa to give him space, but it seems that space is all that occupies her mind today. She doesn't even realize where she's sat down until she takes note of the kitty hair collecting on her slacks. It's difficult to focus on anything but her grief, and the steady flow of empty condolences on Facebook do little to comfort her. People say they understand, but only experience can let you do such a thing. How many Antons has Maria had? Not one.

Why must cats die?

Why must anything die?

Pondering such a vicious, morbid part of life is not her best decision right now. She feels her face scrunch up from the burning sensation of tears threatening to fall, and yet cannot stop these questions. She only wishes she had answers as to why Anton could not, at the very least, accompany her for the rest of her life. What a world it would be if your closest animal friends lived the same time that you did. Neither would suffer then, would they? Yes, a wonderful world indeed.

Luzia has never considered herself a pessimist, but this world is not wonderful, and she's aware of it. None of these perfect fantasies are possible for logic exists in their place. There is no good reason for things to be the way she aches for them to be, so they never will be.

Yet the hopes that she will hear Anton's scratching at the door are so deep rooted, she cannot ignore them. Sipping her coffee, she stares blankly out the living room window. How off her rocker can she be, that she would rather have buried her cat alive than have actually said goodbye? Dwelling on such things won't make them go away, but neither will avoiding them, and so the thought comes and goes as she sits.

Despite her drive to work beginning far from now, Luzia is already wide awake and dressed to leave. She could not sleep, anyways. There was no point in staying in bed, in the darkness of the morning, to pathetically cry to herself. She can hear her mother now, chiding her being so hung up on a simple cat.

Anton was more than a cat, though. He understood Luzia in a way that even her best friend Nadja, the woman who had gifted her Anton, could not. He was temperamental and in the words of her favorite band, a cynic at best. His coldness made his kindness that much more touching. When Anton brushed against her ankles on a bad day, Luzia swears the gesture could touch the very corners of her soul. If only, if only, if only he were with her now, to twist in and out between her legs and make her stumble in the way he used to.

Whether it's the coffee or the memories that will never be renewed, Luzia's mouth begins to taste bitter. She has no one to direct her sadness and anger to, for Anton died of old age. She hopes it was peaceful, though in a selfish way, Luzia would have preferred any other way. The sight of her baby stiff in his bed, the moment the truth had dawned on her and she began to sob; it was enough to make her throw the bed out once she had laid him to rest. Memories be damned. She couldn't stand the sight of such a suddenly morbid object.

Happy thoughts, Luzia reminds herself, standing up. Happy thoughts, just like everyone always tells someone who is mourning. But will those truly help? All they do to her is make her cry, for the more she thinks of Anton, the less she thinks of their happy past. For once in her life, living in the past is a good thing, because it would mean she doesn't have to live an Anton-less world.

Dumping her cooling coffee in the sink, she avoids looking out the kitchen window. Luzia is not sure she can bare to even glance out that window, not now. Her garden by the back porch will suffer as much as she, for as long as this phobia of the backyard persists, she won't be able to spend much time outside tending to it. She had buried Anton in the junction of the porch and the house, hoping it was shielded from weather and eyes alike enough to satisfy herself.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Luzia is discovering the lackluster amount of logic behind many old phrases, it seems.

She wishes she weren't. She wishes she could live in blissful ignorance, trying her best and failing to make Anton play with the cat wand her father had bought for him when the moody feline was a kitten. These are just that: wishes. They will not come true, and as she looks in the hallway mirror to fix her shirt, she comes to terms with this. Whether or not this maturity lasts past the next eight hours is up in the air. The most important thing now is being an emotionally stable adult prepared for work.

Luzia finds herself looping around her garage when she leaves her front door. Maybe he can't hear her anymore, but with her newfound maturity guiding her, she would never leave for work without telling her Anton goodbye.

February 25, 2020 03:21

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