Almost 16 years ago, before the house and before the kids, we agreed to foster a cat. Abandoned by her mother in infancy, she was to be with us only for a few weeks until she was strong enough for adoption. Thinking our time with her was to be brief we named her quickly while watching football on a Sunday afternoon: Reggie, for Green Bay Packer defensive end Reggie White, even though she was decidedly feminine. Reggie had the brightest blue eyes, the longest whiskers and the bushiest tail we'd ever seen. At the end of the fostering period, she had imprinted herself on us—me especially—and the idea of handing her over to someone else was out of the question.
A lot happened in 16 years. But in that time Reggie sat on my newspaper everyday while I tried in vain to read it. She never missed an opportunity to chase a reflection of light if it bounced from my watch onto the wall before her. When she couldn't curl up against me on the couch because my pregnant belly took up all the space, she perched on my hip and purred. She gave me the evil eye if I dared to take a bath in the tub, which she considered her personal, oversized water bowl. She threw up fur balls and hissed at strangers, but when the house was quiet and the people in it were still, she'd seek me out and want to lie on top of me so I could rub her head or brush out her mats. Like Max in Where the Wild Things Are, I think she wanted to be where someone loved her best of all. I loved her the best I could, enough to let her go today when the vet presented euthanasia as the kinder option.
I miss my furry friend. Good-bye Reggie, I loved you well.