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A few years after my brother and sister
and I had all left the house, my mother’s
cat died, one that I had picked out for us
when I was little. Mom had found
her hiding in the dark place between
the washer and dryer. She picked her up,
cocooned her in a blanket like a baby,
and cradled her for a while. The cat lay
quiet, but occasionally spit up and hissed,
sounding like a rattle, scared of something
my mother couldn’t see. She stopped moving
altogether, and my mom picked up the phone
to call and tell me about it and ask me if my car
was fixed yet, how my dating life was going,
and if I was eating well.

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