I have had fish for two years – the same fish. I love these fish or at least I thought I did. The other day as I was getting food for Sam, I was distracted by the sound of water running. I turned around and jumped in surprise, which quickly turned to panic. I forgot I had fish.
It’s not the first time I have forgotten about a pet. A few years ago, Lana asked me to catsit for her while she was on a business trip. She had a rescue cat who hated everyone except me. The cat loved to sit on my lap and lick me. She had trained him to use the bathroom in the toilet so all I had to do was go to her place, flush the toilet and give him food twice a day. She was going to be gone for five days.
On the fourth day, I called my friend Grant.
“Hey Grant. How’s it going?”
“Good, what’s up Elyse? You sound weird.”
He sensed my nerves as I stood outside my sister’s apartment for the first time in four days. I shook head to toe terrified of the scene I was going to find when I opened the door. I imagined the cat lying in his own urine emaciated with a single tear rolling down his face. He would take one last look at me and whisper in meows, “you did this to me,” before taking his final breath.
What would I do with his body? What would I tell Lana? I started to hyperventilate.
“Ummm. Uh. You might think this is a weird question but can cats survive without eating for four days?”
“What? What are you talking about?” I started crying.
“Grant, I don’t want to go in alone. I’m scared. I murdered Lana’s cat. I need you to come in with me.”
“Elyse, what did you do?” He started to laugh. “You’re ridiculous.”
“I’m catsitting. Well…I forgot I was catsitting. And now, I think he’s dead. I feel so guilty. Do you think he’s dead?”
Grant showed up at Lana’s apartment fifteen minutes later. I was sitting on the stoop rocking back and forth like a crazy person. I looked at him and gave him a weary smile.
“Are you ready?” Continue reading