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I have been on this earth now for fifty-five years. Twice married, twice divorced. I left home when I was still a girl. I’ve been to Mardi Gras, twice. I was raped when I was nineteen. At twenty-one I was kidnapped and held at gunpoint.

I kissed Weird Al Yankovic once. I kissed a girl. Or two.

I kissed Bo Diddley.

There is no one that I miss. No man or woman. I have lived the last sixteen years in an antique-colored twilight, where my only real companion is a ball of black fur I named Phuphys.

Foo-fus. Foo, for short. I will not go on and on about what makes him special, everyone thinks their cat or dog is special. I have always talked to him as though he were human, and that, I think, has made him different from other cats.

Sometimes we delight in one another. Sometimes we bore each other. We are silly, or we are angry, we argue and then we make up.

Together he and I have huddled against the world.

In all my fifty-five years as a woman on this earth, I have never had a maternal yearning. I say that in all honesty and without exaggeration. I have had relationships. Intimacies. I have never for a moment thought of myself with a child.

Male cats, apparently, are prone to renal failure. Foo passed away last Monday. The relationships I’ve had, I’ve lost, which I deserve. None of it hurt like this.

I was not his mother. But I loved him and he was my friend. I’m not easy to get along with. I’m not pleasant to be around.

But he made me a better person than I otherwise would’ve been.

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