Mark had a rehearsal that night, so our friend Carl came over so I wouldn't have to be alone. I was joking we were sitting shiva on Mao. When his girlfriend Krista came over after her rehearsal, she was teasing me that at least we were doing it right since we had Mao's picture out on the table and everything.
Krista and Carl were two of Mao's best friends, I think. He was a pretty laid back boy. Not always affectionate with guests, but when he decided to get on a lap he was 18 pounds of organ piercing, bone crushing love. When we had parties he would get overwhelmed and, instead of hiding in the back room with our other cat Nemo, he would try to sneak out the front door and go out to sit in the street. Krista and Carl always took it upon themselves to form "The Mao Patrol" to try to catch him before he took off. One of our favorite memories of the Mao Patrol was the night he got a running start at the street. Mao was chugging along in a full fat-cat run, little white beer belly jiggling with every step. One of our friends looked down, saw him jog past, picked him and and turned him around so he was facing the house. Mao kept going, same speed, same intent right back into the living room. It was like having our own little Warner Bros. cartoon.
I told Krista and Carl that Mao was being cremated and that Mark decided he wanted the ashes. Me, I wanted his paw-print in a little clay disc. They thought it was wonderful that we were keeping Mao's remains and Krista said that meant we could put him somewhere special. "Somewhere he always wanted to go" I just laughed so hard I started crying. "Yeah! Like the street!" I think Mark walked in about the time we were all in hysterics describing how we could keep the Mao Patrol going with his little urn - one person put it in a chair, another on a table, then someone see how far they could sneak it down the sidewalk before someone else noticed.
I was playing Sims Online at the time and someone warned me the hardest part would seeing how little and light the box of ashes actually were. I didn't get that. I picked it up the first time and it was damn heavy! There is no way it could be anyone besides Mao in there.
I just put Mao's picture on the table again. The one where he is lying on his blue ball and it almost looks like he is smiling.
One of the things we joked about doing last year for the Dia de el Maotra was having people send us their favorite memories of the boy and then posting them on a website. We never got around to it, of course, but it's nice to go through some of our favorite thoughts - like the way he always ran to the phone when it started ringing, how he watched Goldfinger with me or how when our friend Sue moved in and she was so allergic to cats he had to sleep locked in the bedroom with us. I was escorting him to the litter box one morning and on the way he just stopped and glared up at Sue sleeping on the couch with this look like "If you were a bird I would eat you". I was always in awe of how well Nemo took Mao's death. Nemo is a cat of very little brain and we thought not having Mao there would just freak him out, but he took it better than we did. Elle described it as proof that cats talk to each other. "You have to think Mao took him aside and said "Kid, I'm not going to be here much longer.."" Nemo just looked at the empty carrier, looked at us and went on with his day. He was a LOT more upset when the carrier came home without our next cat, Murray. Murr was getting snipped and had to spend the day at the vet and when we came home with that empty box, Nemo started cussing us out in cat and wouldn't come near me for almost an hour.