Thank You. I Love You.

I stared at the wall across from me. It was adorned with the same mindless wallpaper, meant to calm and soothe, as all doctor’s offices. The chill in the room penetrated my hoodie. My body was slumped in the chair. I had lost the will to try to hold myself up. That was when I first had the thought:

“Thank you. I love you.”

It was a shocking thought, all in all. It had come out of thin air into my head and seemed disassociated from my present circumstance. Drenched in stress and succumbing to illness, my life was an overwhelming engine of fear, worry, and duties. The thought repeated again.

“Thank you. I love you.”

I thought about my little gray cat in the back, on cold steel tables, scared and unsure of what was happening. I remembered his howl and the look in his eyes as his body went limp.

“I love you.”

I thought about all the times I held his warmth against my body in the past month. I remembered every treat I’d given him in the time we’d bought with each other since this sojourn began.

“Thank you.”

The vet came into the room – the one with sandy blonde hair. That’s how the cat and I had come to know the techs at the emergency room – by their hair color. He sat down to give me the latest rundown. A dictionary of words was thrown at me and somewhere I heard the words “can go home.” I exhaled for the first time in a week – since the last time we’d been there.

“Thank you.”

The chill returned to the room as the sandy blonde haired vet tech left. He disappeared to the “back room” with the swaggering confidence of jargon, to return my dying kitten to my arms.

“I love you.”

As time went on, the phrase repeated like a chorus in my head; as I paid for my morning coffee; as I filled up my gas tank; as I was cut off in traffic and as I sat with the chattering coeds in the steam room.

“Thank you. I love you.”

Friends expressed irritation that I had been unavailable – more so than usual. They were right. But since the cat needed medication every eight hours, on the nose, my schedule was suffocatingly limited. I silently sent them my thought.

“Thank you. I love you.”

In the heartland, my parents knew the devastation that would unfurl if the cat died. We had all sucked up a fair amount of medical debt to keep the cat alive. The cat needed to live. My mom had spent just as many tears as I had. Our phone calls had become sobbing, stressed, slobbering affairs.

“Thank you. I love you.”

It was a coincidence that had me home when the cat started convulsing and howling.

“Thank you. I love you.”

Despite being overwhelmed, stressed, distracted and despondent, I was maintaining my responsibilities at work. Without asking questions, everyone seemed to realize I was near my limit.

“Thank you. I love you.”

For better or worse, if life had to go this way, things had worked out as well as they possibly could. In the end, I simply said, “Thank you. I love you.” and let go.

There was simply nothing else to say.

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