Tuesday 3/12 Ithaca, NY – Providence, RI
Unlike goodbyes, departures are always frenzied for me. This departure was particularly frenzied because of the nature of our temporary home; the house demanded a thorough cleaning and packing before we left. Despite literal days of cleaning, we received a rather heinous side glance from the house upon rolling down the driveway (the consequence of not vacuuming no doubt).
Though I don’t particularly believe in goodbyes (the punctuation is rarely what makes the sentence), my sense of departure was totally drowned by a sense of parting. The feelings of excitement and nervousness that accompany a long journey were negligible compared to the pain associated with leaving Cat behind.
Cat wasn’t meant to be ours, but ended up in our care for the past six months by choice; Cat found us when they were lonely and we welcomed them so they stayed, like any friend would. Upon departure, Cat had to return to their place of loneliness. We looked for other homes to no avail. We cried out of anger because it was unfair and we cried out of sadness because it was tragic; and, nearly every time, Cat would find us and crawl into our laps to comfort us, as they always did when we were struggling. Cat didn’t know the tragedy was their fate, not ours.
Upon leaving the house, the first thing we did was drop off Cat. The feelings from that situation didn’t dissipate until a couple hours into the drive. Only then, on some remote stretch of I-88, listening to some obscure Beatles song, did the journey begin.
We drove roughly six hours to Providence, noticing little and stopping less. We were rushing to see a friend in Providence before he went South, knowing he’d be North by the time we were South. We arrived to a warm meal and good company and a futon beneath a skylight. This was the first of many living rooms we’d sleep in. Neo, the house cat, led us into our slumber, only to drag us out every few hours with the fervent sound of sand castle construction in the litter box.