I'm in the car, driving home and there is a box in the back seat.
The four flaps are interwoven in the traditional way.
But, I know interweaving the flaps isn't necessary.
I know what is in the box - and it makes me think of other boxes.
Nineteen years ago, I was driving a different car and I was driving home.
There was a box in the car.
The four flaps were interwoven in the traditional way.
And, I knew what was in the box - so I knew the reason for this precaution.
There were two kittens in that box.
One black and white, the other tortie.
It had been difficult putting them in the box.
When one was put in, the other would try to leap out.
It reminded me a little of those silly "bop'em gopher" games.
Every time you pushed one little feline head down
The other would pop up.
Boxes became the equivalent of fun time.
This was especially true for the tortie.
Make scratching noises on the inside.
She would jump in.
Make scratching noises on the outside.
She would bat at the source of the sound.
Boxes became the base of operations.
Play sessions with the nerf ball
would always start with the tortie in a box.
Until she couldn't stand it and would dart out,
and do her best to chase the ball,
as it was rolled from human to human.
Boxes became the place to lick perceived wounds.
While she was named Eowyn,
We nicknamed her "Bat" (or acrobat)
Due to her amazing leaps as she played with us.
She would get wound up
Until she landed on a human or otherwise lost control.
Soon after, she would be back in the box.
For a cat's time out.
Boxes were a way to pretend
that everything on the inside was mysterious
and everything on the outside was spooky.
We would tip the box over the cat,
and she would creep around.
Paws occasionally darting out to defend
against an unseen adversary.
As time went by, boxes became a place of safety.
Any time life became too much
she would go to a box and sit in
until things settled to her liking.
Boxes were the booster seat
to sit closer to the level of her humans at the dinner table.
Boxes were the perfect place to nap,
Especially with her head propped on a corner like a pillow.
Boxes were the place to be in winter,
when the box was placed next to a radiator for heat.
And boxes were sometimes the place to do things,
that the humans didn't really want her to do.
But now, the box serves a different purpose.
I know what is in this box.
It is one nineteen year old, tortie cat.
It was difficult putting her in the box.
And it will be difficult taking her out again.
For one last time.
It has been said that people can be stupid about their pets. And, perhaps we are. However, any creature that lives as a part of the family for nineteen years will result in grieving for those left behind. We miss the brother and sister cats that were our companions for much of our married lives. Stryder died in February two years ago. Eowyn was with us for nearly two more years.