Enter the Ninja

Today is a holiday in our house, although this year it will be tinged with sadness.  We always called it simply, “Gandalf Day.”

Eighteen years ago today, a grey and white kitten with a pink nose took up residence with us, and used his great sorcery to transform our family forever after.

What’s bizarre is how vividly I can remember scenes from that day, and the few days after, given that I couldn’t tell you what movies I’ve seen in the past 6 months, what I ate for dinner last week, or the names of 3/4 of my relatives.

It was a Thursday afternoon; he was chauffeured to our attic-style apartment by my mom.  She dropped him off and had to leave shortly after.  BW was at class, so for a while it was just me and kitten.  He was very curious at first, and was very interested as I took him on a tour.  He ate a little food (Kitten Chow, I didn’t know any better.), saw all the rooms (we only had 3), and was shown where the litter box was.

Then I think it started to dawn on him that he was in a strange place and had no idea what was going to happen or if he could leave, because he got a little scared and retreated to under this old green stool we used to have, and just sat there.

I gave him some space and later on was able to coax him out with a toy.  I have to admit (sorry, G!) that Gandalf’s very first toy was on old sock, stuffed with crumpled newspaper and tied off in a knot.  (That and a box with holes in it.  “Transmogrifier” written on the side.  Tell me the reference and win a prize.)  But he played the heck out of that sock.

And that’s what he was doing when BW came home.  We were sitting on the floor near the door, so as soon as BW opened it, there was G, looking at him.  I clearly, like I’m listening to a recording, remember the inquisitive, gentle way BW said “Hello.”

Gandalf stayed pretty frightened the first night, and slept in a little bed I’d made for him (I didn’t know any better.)  Second night we thought he might bond with us better if he shared our bed, so he did.  It worked, and our family was made.

So we’ll make every effort to celebrate this day for what it is — an occasion when an amazing thing happened.  But I can’t help but grieve as well.  We still miss our boy, our friend, so much.  I would happily, and I know BW would agree, give up some years from my lifespan to be able to see and play with that teeny kitten or that badass cat again.

Love you, Mithrandir.  Always will.

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