The Light of Midnight
© 2005 Marlo Dianne
We've lost Midnight.
He was, simply, the sweetest and happiest person I've ever met. We've been crying. Hard. I was crying again, this morning. I will be dripping all over my keyboard even as I type this. Words are...useless right now, but other than hugs and tears, it's all I've got.
We hadn't seen each other in years. My illness means I can't travel. So he never saw what I've become, and I never saw the horror of what his recent illness had done to him either. In our memories of each other, we're not broken.
And my strongest memories of Midnight are all of greetings.
Whenever I arrived at Lynn's, he would just KNOW, and from nowhere would come a joyful wailing bellow, and he would just APPEAR, galloping at top speed, until he could throw himself on my feet, where he would roll around happily, sharing his utter glee.
I don't know if this was just how he said hi to everyone. Maybe it was. But this morning it hit me all over, hard, very hard, that I will never again have someone that happy to see me, that excited just because I EXIST.
*long pause, involving many more wads of Kleenex*
Midnight didn't like to be held, or snuggled in the usual ways. He wanted me to hurry up and sit down, settle, so he could groom himself into bliss by rubbing his head and shoulders thoroughly into my calf or thigh. When he got sleepy, he'd wrap his arms around me and cling tighter, as if he could break physics and absorb me. Or maybe I was just an especially gruesome and awkward teddy bear. Things would get a little dangerous when he got that mellow, because he would start to flex and knead, and he had wicked sharp claws. Ouch. But sharing his pure joy, feeling that utterly loved, was more than worth the occasional accidental puncture.
I tried to capture lots of portraits of him, but he couldn't contain himself enough to be still, even for an instant. And being gleaming black, indoors, and usually crocodile rolling along my thigh...kind of raised the challenge.
I think the portrait above was the best I ever managed. As I recall, we were all outside on the deck, and he had settled pressed into Lynn. She said it was because it was his favourite chair.
He got pretty gooey, between the happy of family and soaking in the warmth from the sun. But he STILL wasn't still. His tail was doing the come hither wiggle worm, the paw at his face kept flexing, and being pressed tight to his mom wasn't close enough, so he was endlessly shifting, trying to absorb into her too. But I'm, oddly, very patient--and EXTRA freakishly determined--with a camera and a purpose. I took A LOT of shots, and sometimes the odds let you win.
Even so, whenever I look at it, I feel joy...and...disappointed. Oh, I think he looks beautiful, yes, but not near as gorgeous as he really is. I kept trying to do better, and now...
Maybe some things are just too special for any container to hold.
As broken as I am, I know the pain that Lynn has right now is so much worse, and I hate that there's nothing I can do to help. Nothing can make it better.
But I do know this:
Pain is terrible, so terrible, but pain is temporary. In universe time, even a whole life of it, unending, is nothing.
The joy and the love that Midnight gave me, that he gave all of us, he shoved it so deep it's never going anywhere. It's a permanent part of us. Family.
Bodies are temporary; love is forever.