When Paloma and I got together, she brought two felines with her, Coltrane and Sam.
Coltrane was petite and graceful, quiet and sphinx-like with her black fur giving her an air of elegance.
As for Sam, I must confess that I didn’t think much of her. She had heft to her and didn’t so much enter the room as charge into it like some wild animal rumbling from the underbrush.
(Paloma would often suggest – only half-jokingly – that she might indeed be part badger)
Sam didn’t strike me as particularly bright, either, as she’d sit, motionless, and stare at me dully to the point of distraction.
And, her small, pink nose was usually covered in dirt.
Yeah, I didn’t think much of Sammy.
Slowly, I began to notice that, though Sam in motion could be a somewhat comical exhibition of locomotion, she had quick, nimble feet and a surprising amount of agility which was demonstrated effortlessly.
The staring was merely a manifestation of her desire to interact with people.
I viewed Sam as a bit of an underdog and I am sucker for the underdog. She slowly won me over and, though we had no shortage of nicknames for her, I gave her one more…
And that is what she’s been for the past five years – The Buddy.
Each day as I arrived home from an often grueling day at the office, if she wasn’t at the door as I opened it, she was rushing into the room to greet me.
If only momentarily, the pressures of the day would be forgotten. It was impossible not to smile at her obvious enthusiasm over my return and I’d spend several minutes stroking her head as she’d lick my face.
She’d amble into the kitchen with me as I’d go see what Paloma was working on for dinner and she’d follow me into the bedroom while I shed my work clothes.
From my morning shower – when I’d often look down to see Sam pacing on the lip of the tub, rustling the shower curtains – until I turned out the lights and headed for bed, she was usually there.
And now she’s not.
Over the 4th of July, when I was home for a couple extra days, I realized that things had changed.
Sam followed me from room to room, but there was something palpably different in the way she would stare at me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that she wanted something that I was unable to offer.
So, yesterday Paloma and I curled up in bed with Sam between us and said our goodbyes.
She seemed more contented and at peace than she had in weeks as she lay there drowsily, basking in the attention.
And this morning, Paloma and I are both astounded at how quiet things are without Sam’s vibrant spirit.
Goodbye, Sammy. You’ll always be The Buddy.
Mark Knopfler – Going Home (Theme Of The Local Hero)
from Local Hero
I considered posting some soft rock from the ’70s as we’ve long suspected that Sam dug the music of America. But the song that has kept coming into my head the past few days has been the closing song from Dire Straits’ guitarist Mark Knopfler’s soundtrack to the movie Local Hero.
Much like Sam, the movie is low-key, quirky and sweet with a charm that sneaks up on you and is hard to shake.
As for the song, there’s a touch of sadness, but that quickly gives way to a determined melody and concludes with an anthemic, almost joyous close that leaves you feeling that everything’s going to be alright.