Story: Nine Lives

It is time. Time to let go.

I look up at my human, just like I did when she picked me up from the shelter many years ago. The smile she gives me is my midnight sun, unexpected and warming. She has a special smile saved only for me, from the first moment she saw my crooked tail and my missing eye, when she picked me up with tender hands and carried me out of that dark, cold place. That same night, I slept curled up on her pillow, my belly full for the first time since I was born, her rhythmic breathing and my purring rocking us to sleep.

We spent countless hours together; me settled on her lap or curled up at her feet. In my mind, I can trace the curve of her knees, every muscle in her thighs, the shape of her toes. Her soft fingers brushing over my fur, the way my head fits perfectly into her palm.

She told me everything, from her first kiss to her first heartbreak, from the match-making-app to the date who showed up with a black rose. We moved houses twice and each time she bought me sashimi to sweeten the sudden change, but all I care about is her. She is my home. A constant in my life, just as I am in hers.

Now, my fur is matte and streaked with gray. Moving is hard, I can hear my bones creak and cannot jump onto the shelf with her mother’s ashes anymore.

I’m tired, and every day I get more so.

But I don’t want to worry her. I try my best to conceal the stains on the pillow where I nap, try to force the dry food down, even when I don’t feel like it.

When she carries me to the car, my body no heavier than a feather in her arms, I know it is time.

For the final moments, she holds my paw and strokes me between the ears. 

“I’ll miss you,” she whispers and presses a kiss on my nose.

The last thing I see before I close my eye is the person who loved me most in this world. I wish we had more time together, just one more of my nine lives…


When I open my two healthy eyes, I’m back in the cold, dark place. I don’t have to wait long until her face appears. A meow escapes me, but it sounds different, younger. My body is the same shape, but smaller, and my fur a different colour. But she smiles that same smile when our eyes meet. There are a few more wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, but her hands, her breath, her heartbeat feel the same when she picks me up and holds me close to her chest.

It is time. Time to live another life with her.


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