On Beatrice, 2008


In which The Gay Recluse remembers Beatrice, two years later.


We don’t have too many photographs of Beatrice; although we owned a camera, it was a particularly trying period of our life, so that we were almost never inspired to memorialize it. (All of these pictures were taken by Stephen.) You can tell that this is an early one, though, because her ears were still infected; we remember bringing this to the vet’s attention and she told us to swab her ears with a salve: for some reason, the vet couldn’t quite seem to grasp that Beatrice never let us hold her, even for a second. (And we tried everything!) Fortunately Dante — always an exceedingly careful groomer — spent a lot of time licking her ears, and they gradually got better.


This is another shot, where you can see the improvement.


Dante and Beatrice liked to take naps near each other on the window sill in the afternoon.


When they woke up, they would have a “lick-lick session.” We always assumed that Dante taught Beatrice some of his grooming techniques, because she smelled a little “off” in the beginning, but that too went away over time. We always assumed that we, too, would gradually be allowed to get closer to her; what we didn’t realize is that we didn’t have very much time.


Beatrice had the plushest coat; it seemed to compensate for her stunted body, chopped-off tail and mitten paws (not to mention the horrible life she must have had before being adopted). At times, as in this picture, she glowed with an otherworldly aura, an idea made all the more plausible and painful by the knowledge that we never got to hold her until after she got sick. The most she ever allowed was a brief touch, just beyond arm’s length (a distance she could always judge with maddening perfection).


At other times, though, she was more cat-like. She certainly didn’t appreciate being told what to do, either by us or Dante: sometimes he would try to play with her and she — clearly not in the mood — would scream at him before running under the bed, after which he would walk around the apartment moaning and sulking. But then she would reappear an hour or so later, carrying her “kitten” — a bright yellow stuffed-animal dog, almost as big as she was — as if to imply that she really didn’t need anyone else to amuse her, although she clearly liked the attention.


Hardly a day passes when we don’t look at the window sill with longing, as if we might find her there, still staring at the world outside with a certain mix of contemplation, wonder and disdain, knowing she was all too soon destined to leave it, and us, behind.

For the long version of Beatrice’s story, click here.

No Responses Yet to “On Beatrice, 2008”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: