A Song For L
Losing London was always the hardest part of my life to date. I’ve gotten into fights, lost friends and have broken up—multiple times of each. I’m sure for anyone else—anyone ‘normal’—all of those things would have left scars on the mind. For me it was nothing; I brushed it off. But London? That left deep trenches; something I could never recover from. And I had nobody to blame.
To lose London was the absolute worst. You know, it’s probably a weird thing to mull over, even after two years it happened. But love’s love, right? No matter what form it takes and who it’s between. But for me, it was most between myself and a two-year-old ginger tabby.
I got London when I was in Grade 11. He was a small, tired looking creature when I first held him just in my arm. London’s eyes were barely opened, and he looked like an angel in cat form—I didn’t at first admit that to myself. Soundly sleeping, he never woke up and looked totally content where he was.
At the outset, I hated him. I did not want some new responsibility to add to my growing and irrepressible list. My mother felt like I was growing up much too quickly for my age—I was seventeen, and I was her ‘middle-aged son’. Still, she thought getting a cat was a ‘good idea’.
“Come on, Edward,” she coaxed in the car. I didn’t see the point, because we were already halfway to her friend’s house that had the cat. I did my best to look as pouting as was acceptable for an 11th grader. I kept my eyes straight out of the window and my face tightly locked in a hard stare.
“It will be good for you,” my dad said then. “Did you know that studies have shown that having a cat has a positive effect on an overworked person?” There he went again, dangling the word studies… in my face.
I didn’t answer. I kept my head down and waited for the ride to finish.
We finally got there, after nearly half an hour of driving around, trying to find the location of my mom’s friend. The more we drove, the farther we got eventually, to the lower-class end of town.
Notice I sound like a rich snob there, but it really was how I felt. I lived in the higher-income end of town, in a fairly large house that even had a makeshift recording studio. So seeing townhouses filled my head with all kinds of grandeur.
We stopped the car directly in front of an especially eccentric-looking house; it looked like hippies still lived in it. The outside was covered with bright dangling things and even a neon peace sign. Who in the world still keeps a neon peace sign? These people apparently did. The door was already open, as if they expected us.
As we went inside, I started to detect the faintest, but strong, smell of weed. It was a tough, grassy kind of smell, and it still burned my lungs, even though I was used to it. I was around people who smoked weed all the time, and they always smelled like it. But this house? It was crazy.
“Sheila?” my mother called into the house. Sure enough, down came a hippie, walking ever so gracefully down the stairs—decked out in hippie clothes and everything. Even her eyes were red; maybe she was what the smell was coming from.
“Addison,” Sheila said in an airy, throaty voice. “You’ve come. I’ve been expecting you.”
“Yes, the door was open,” my mother agreed. “Plus we called earlier.”
“Yes,” Sheila said, not seeming to remember. “Anyway, did you come for the cat?”
“We did,” my dad said then. “It’s for my son Edward, here.”
“Edward…” She pronounced my name with a strange quality, as if she was rolling it over in her mouth. “Edward. Yes. All right, come with me.” With a grand motion with her humongous sleeve, Sheila led us into the living room.
The stench of weed grew stronger, and I heard a window slide open. As I took in more of the den, I saw a vaguely familiar figure. She was dressed in a blue tank top and jeans that definitely did not match her mother’s baggy clothes. Her hair seemed to at one point have been done in a meticulous up-do, but now it was down; the fierce curls of brown and gold went down her back.
“Anya,” Sheila said in a strangely commanding yet soft tone. Anya McClure? The rich girl? She couldn’t be Anya McClure—Anya dressed too richly and acted too superiorly to live in this kind of house? Maybe this Sheila was another McClure who just happened to name her daughter Anya.
“Yes, mom?” Anya, still with her back turned, answered. Her head was halfway out the window.
“Where is the cat that the Steele family had asked for?”
“You mean Busby?”
“Anya, remember that the cats have no names until they have a companion.” Anya’s back suddenly seemed to go stiff. And she turned around; yes, this was the “rich” Anya McClure that made it known that she was better than everyone. If this is how she really lived, in a low-end townhouse with a druggie hippie mother, then I don’t see how she could justify herself. Her eyes flickered to me briefly, and she froze as if she was cornered; gradually her face relaxed.
“Well, I gave him a name,” Anya said coldly. “The cat won’t remember anyway. They can name the stupid thing all they want to.” Suddenly the little cat peeked out from behind the couch. It was a small ginger tabby, its eyes just starting to open and it was starting to walk around.
It seemed rather independent of itself.
Anya’s face suddenly became a little soft at the sight of the cat.
“He’s so cute,” my mother exclaimed, unthinkingly going to the cat and picking him up. “You are cute. It’s free of charge, right?” My mother was talking as she was walking over to us, rather deliberately placing the cat that would eventually be London in my hand.
“Absolutely,” Sheila said, as if in another world. “These wonderful creatures cannot have a price put on them….”
“Yes, yes,” my dad interrupted her. “Many thanks for the cat.” His eyes suddenly flickered to me—it was hard to miss. “If you don’t mind….”
“There’s the door,” Sheila muttered, her eyes half-closed in a trance. We all exited the door, with our newest addition in my hand.
When we arrived home, I suddenly felt alienated by the big house. It, for the first time in my life, felt much too big; much too empty. I didn’t want to enter the huge white French door that opened to the insides, even though I had so many times.
When I cleared my head and walked inside. I plopped London right down on the floor. I had at that point noticed that I hadn’t once put him down since the car ride. He landed safely on the floor with the softest of thuds. But my mom still saw—or rather, all she saw was—a small ginger ball of fur falling from my arm onto the floor.
“Edward!” she half-screeched at me. “Didn’t I tell you to take care of the cat?”
“No,” I answered half-mindedly.
“I’m telling you now. You be gentle with him and take care of the poor little creature!”
“All right,” I wanted to shout but I repressed it. I eyed the cat—who at that point was still unnamed—and I picked him up. He curled rather snugly into my arm and mewed.
“You see?” my mom gushed. “He likes you already.” As I thought she was about to take off her shoes, she turned right around and went out the door. “Your father and I are going to buy things for the cat. We’ll be back soon.”
“Kay,” I said, still holding the cat.
“Give him a name while we’re gone.” And with that she was out the door. I leered at the cat, and he leered back at me with his wide, wondering blue eyes. I tried to struggle with a name for him.
“London,” I said, going with the next word that popped into my mind. “Yeah, you’ll be London.” London mewed his approval.
That was the very first time I felt any form of affection, anything close to it, toward him. But it died in an instant; I went right downstairs toward the recording studio I’d set up for myself. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the little padded steps behind me were of a cat.
The door to the recording studio was closed, as it always was. I never wanted some weird annoying noise to drift in from downstairs. When I was in it, everything was silent.
Once downstairs, I went right to the computer that sat at the back of the room. That computer was the heart of everything—the microphones and acoustic fixers may have created the sound but without that computer, I may as well have been singing into empty air. The thing hummed softly to life, and the first thing I did was call up a project I had been struggling to work on for a while.
The title of the song I was creating was called M. Out of all things to call it, and out of all the letters in the alphabet, I chose M—I really don’t remember why. But M was intended to be a 7-minute requiem; a story that becomes a song. So far I had the song half-written and nothing actually recorded. M was turning out to be the hardest project in my life.
London followed me in; I’d forgotten to close the door. He alerted me of his presence by meowing tentatively once.
“London,” I scolded him. “You are not allowed in here.” He meowed again in response. I stared hard at him, but I didn’t figure he would understand. So I sighed and let him go about. It’s not like I was recording anything anyway.
After a while. London started moving around and found his way to the computer desk. It seemed he was attracted to and fascinated by its steady humming, so he sat down right in front of it—right next to my face. I blew at him, trying to shoo him off. He lied down and napped. I told myself not to lose patience with it; it was in a new place after all.
Minutes passed and I had gotten almost nothing onto the page. The text bar blinked curiously at me, as if it were doing so to annoy me. I never felt more antagonistic toward a bunch of black lines onto a screen.
He lives far from his grave
Beyond reality which
He carves his name in the
Stone we deceased
In the cold rain will he
Howl in the night
Where the people will
Scream for all their lives
M, M, M
And where I had written the repetitions of “M” was where the accursed blinker went on and off. Without much else to do, I looked at London who was simply dozing away on my desk. I considered shaking him awake, but even animals needed sleep.
I glared at my screen again, and I decided that M was going nowhere tonight. For me anyway… hmm. Maybe, I thought, I should call Christian. Maybe he’d at least have a good riff by now.
I had a band at school. It was made up of me and my friends. One of very best, Christian Ramirez, was the guitarist. I had no idea how good you were supposed to be with a guitar to be considered ‘good’—I much less knew how the thing worked. But Christian was the best I’ve known, which in reality isn’t saying a lot, but it was good enough for the band. Underneath—the band name I’d made for us—was mostly Christian’s friends, but that isn’t to say that I haven’t gotten used to having them around. They were good enough people, sometimes.
I decided to call Christian after all.
“Hello?” came the familiar voice when the ringing stopped.
“Christian,” I replied. “It’s Ed.”
“Oh!” He sounded, for some reason, really surprised. “Hey, Ed. What’s up?” He seemed to stumble his own words. Okay… I thought, confused.
“M’s not going so well in the writing,” I told him. “Have you gotten something good?” Suddenly I heard the door open upstairs; it was my parents.
“Nah,” he replied apologetically. “But Lowry told me he had something with a snare beginning. He didn’t elaborate, but he said he’ll show us on the weekend when we get to your place—” Suddenly, at the end of that sentence, he sounded like he got cut off.
“All right.” I didn’t say much more than that; I was trying to figure things out in my head. Like why was Christian being so strange, for one. As an afterthought, I tacked on, “Any of you allergic to cats?”
“Cats?” he asked. “I’m pretty sure none of us are. Why?”
“I have a cat now,” I said a little distastefully; a part of my mind—some immature and childish part—wanted London to hear it and understand. But he didn’t move an inch.
“Awesome,” he said. “What’s it called?”
“London,” I replied.
“You make the prissiest names,” he complained jokingly.
“Oh, shut up homo,” I laughed back. As I did I got the uneasy feeling that the laughter was one-sided. What was with him? Maybe he was depressed again—since he and his girlfriend were in deep water, he went into weird depressive periods.
“I’d better go,” he told me quietly. “I still have all this stuff to do…” He left it hanging as if he already knew I knew his excuse was crappy.
“Sure,” I replied. “See you tomorrow…”
“Yeah.” He said it abruptly and hung up. So that got me nowhere, I was still on M and stuck on that one stupid line. Without much else to do, I continued to work on M. For a brief second I looked at London, who was now awake with an intent look in his blue eyes. As I sat in the chair he leaned forward and sniffed me.
“What do you want?” I asked him acidly. He mewed plaintively in reply, and then he dipped his head a little low in a sort of pitiful way. “Oh,” I said, understanding. “You’re hungry.”
He seemed to agree, or understand, and he leapt off of the desk and went to the door. He looked back; it was obvious he wanted me to follow. I wrinkled my nose at him, but he stayed there. Little thing was persistent.
I gave in and went to follow him upstairs. He raced up, already good at climbing the huge stairs that were too big for him. He was an orange shot that was darting up the stairs until finally we reached the door at the top.
“There you two are,” my mom said, breathing an uneasy sigh of relief. “There’s food for him now. I bet he’s hungry.”
“Yeah,” I told her. “He was making himself known.” I stared at London, who was lying down on the floor in a relaxed manner. It seemed he was already used to his new house.
“Poor baby!” my mom crowed picking up London in her arms. “Are you hungry baby? I bet you are… aw.” She was nuzzling him in her face in a way that made me somehow sick. Little attention whore. London reacted a little queasily, pushing himself away with his paws. Mom didn’t seem to notice that her baby protested against her.
“Let him eat, at least,” I told her, fighting a smile. As if to add emphasis, my dad came out of the kitchen then, carrying London’s silver and glass food tray. How fancy.
“How much did that cost?” mom asked him, suspicious.
“Seventy-five,” he admitted. “But”—holding up a hand before mom could protest—“we want what’s best for the cat right?”
“Oh,” mom gave in. “That’s right…” She dropped London—reluctantly—and let him toward the food. “By the way, what did you name him?”
“London,” I replied, seeming just a little absent-minded.
“Very nice,” she said, mulling it around in her head before she could decide if it was really nice or not. Then she just shrugged—that was a sign it was okay. She looked at the cat, enjoying his food, and she seemed—to me—to mouth the name London to see if it fit his little ginger-colored form. It did for me, at the very least.
For the next year, London was slowly becoming less of a thorn in my side and more of a little thing that I could come home to. If school, work or recording was getting hard—which, at that point in life it often did—London was there. There was no doubt that London would be there. He was becoming—to my half chagrin and half surprise—a fixture in my life. I needed him no less than I needed to eat, or breathe.
Grade 12 started with a great big bang. That day, London was nearly two—I’d gone back to find out his birth date. On the very first day of school, many things happened. For one thing, Underneath’s first album was released. I was proud of our album—it was a good effort that took us a whole year to pull off. I forgot what the title of it was, but it was probably really cheesy-sounding because I was much into the whole doom-and-gloom stage of life. Still, I hadn’t finished M, which really pissed off the rest of the guys.
We were on the verge of disbanding before the album’s release—but if we were really a band, and I even said this, we would wait until M was done in everybody’s eyes. And even then, it wasn’t in anyone’s. That was the day we made a pact to save M for something much bigger.
In essence, we’d become famous. But not famous like Madonna, a little more like VAGIANT. Still, when we walked through the halls in the school and around town, people’s first reaction was “Hey there’s that guy from Underneath” or “Hey that’s Underneath”; and our favorite, “Ugh there’s that stupid wannabe band”. Which of course we didn’t condone, but it was funny to hear nonetheless.
And the first person I celebrated with? London. Of course. Even at the afterparty at Christian’s, I had brought London with me. We were a package deal—I wouldn’t go without London, and since he was a cat, he couldn’t go anywhere without me. I even sat through one of my mom’s “get-togethers” with her girlfriends just because she brought London with her.
It was better when we were alone, though, just me and him. His room was no longer the cat bed on the first floor; he was in my room more often than not. I even thought that he could probably understand me when I spoke to him.
I was probably crazy.
And so it caught me off-guard that June 12th of Grade 12, days before graduation, when London died.
It was an excruciatingly hot summer day, as was every day that month. The sun was a blazing white orb in the sky, beating down on everything and everyone that it managed to find. Not a cloud in the sky to shield, even for a moment, anyone from its trembling hot gaze. It also goes to show that, of course, there was no wind either, unless you ran around and got a breeze building around you, but then you’d sweat more. So it was a lose-lose situation.
I woke up that day, my body already teeming with a bad feeling. Even when I got in the shower, I could not wash off the feeling that there was something terrible about to happen. As I descended the stairs, and that little dusting of ginger and tan met me at the bottom, I had a terrible feeling that he was what my tragedy was going to happen to. I wanted to pet him, but I couldn’t—he seemed much too fragile to even go near.
“Mewwww,” he meowed plaintively on my way out.
“Love you too, little guy,” I told him. I reached over and petted him, and with such a bad gut feeling I felt that was our last exchange.
But I didn’t do more, and instead went right out the door.
“Meww, mrreewww,” he meowed as I closed the door behind him.
And all day at school I could do nothing but fuss and fidget. It was either that or I sat in a totally unperturbed torpor until somebody would wake me from it. More often than not it was the teacher, and that was embarrassing enough in its own right.
Lunch came along slowly and even then I wasn’t behaving like my normal self. I was sitting outside, because inside was like a kiln, in what little shade could hold me and my group of friends.
There were just three of us that day, instead of the regular seven; it was me, Christian and my friend Alexandra. I didn’t pay much attention to either one of them.
“How’s London?” Christian asked out of the blue. I was about to ask him on such a random question, but I guess I made it no secret that London was essentially my best friend. The question was like a rusted knife being twisted in my arm.
“He’s good,” I replied casually.
“Cool,” he said idly, chewing on his sandwich. He seemed strange again today, like some part of him was switched off. The interesting part.
It went like that for a while. I hated when it was down to three, because it was always so awkward to speak. Conversation was limited.
“How’s your guys’ song,” Alexandra said then, also out of the blue; “M or whatever it’s called.”
“It’s good,” Christian said before I could. It was far from good, but who cared? M was definitely not getting done this month, but nobody needed to know that. Not like the band was going to finish a whole album in the next month. The bell rang then, and I was so glad that lunch was over. I seriously could not bear the tediousness of that conversation any longer. We exchanged some lazy-hearted “See you later…”s and left. The heat inside would be a nightmare, but at least neither of them were in my next class.
It was well into math class that I suddenly began to feel really tired. And really anxious; I felt as if my suspicions this morning were flaring up, making themselves known. I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone get them to focus on the crap about integers in equations on the board. I was all but asleep when—
“Edward,” my teacher said, and I snapped awake a second after he said it. At first I thought he was going to tell me, “Edward, please stay awake in class” but the grim look on his face made me think otherwise.
“Yes sir…?” I said, cut off by a yawn at the end. The class laughed, but not for long—the look on my teacher’s face was cloudy at best. A dark storm cloud about to rain.
“To the office,” he said, but not in a commanding way. More regretful.
“What for?” I asked.
“It’s a…” he started. And then in a lower voice he added, “family emergency.”
Shit. I stood up from my seat, and the world around me blurred into strange colors. I felt detached as I opened the door and went down the flight of stairs to the office. When I was there, the door swung open but all I saw was a blurring flash of gray.
“Your mother is outside,” the secretary said in a voice that, to me, sounded low and messed up. I didn’t bother to sign myself out as I made my way outside to find my mother. Both of my parents were there, their silver Mercedes parked in a bus zone.
“Edward,” I heard my mother say. “It’s terrible…” She started to weep as she ushered me into the car. Her makeup was streaking badly.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, and even to myself I sounded like I was in a slow temporal hole.
“London…” she mumbled, just as my dad revved the engine to life.
“What’s wrong with London?!” I screamed at them, not realizing the dark timbre of my voice.
“Edward,” my dad said, trying to pacify the mood—it didn’t help. “We need you to be understanding. Son, animals don’t live as long as humans do…” To that, my mom gave a pained wince.
“He’s dead,” I said in a just as dead voice.
“No, Edward,” dad interrupted. “London is sick. Very sick. To be honest with you…I don’t know how long the little guy has.”
I fell dead silent at that point, not even moving. London couldn’t be suck. He was perfectly healthy, as far as my knowledge of cat anatomy went. After all, he was only two—he couldn’t have some disease brought on by age…
Then again, cats aged faster than humans.
As if he could read my mind and felt the thought that lingered on it, dad floored the gas pedal. We drove faster to who knew what destination.
I realized that every passing minute was precious, and was being wasted. The seconds ticked by; one second gone was one second less I had with London. I knew it was coming…just not so soon. London, London, London… All my thoughts became one-track.
We finally arrived at the one veterinary clinic in town, which happened to be halfway across town if you started at my school. The minutes that passed were driving me insane, but at least I was in the same building as him. I didn’t even wait for my parents to tell me exactly where we had to go; I went on a purely gut instinct. If London was going to be anywhere…
I swung back the door to the room on the far end of the hallway. There was a doctor with an unconscious London partially under a blanket. I could tell the mackerel pattern of his ginger and beige fur anywhere. That was my London.
“London?” I said in a broken voice; my anxiety made it sound like a question.
“Are you Kramer?” the doctor asked, turning away from his examinations of London’s insides. I could tell, even with my inexperience with x-ray pictures, that it did not look good.
“Edward Kramer,” I replied.
“Your parents were here earlier,” the doctor told me. “It seems your cat London is in critical condition.” Just then, my parents came into the room, looking relieved to see me, but I didn’t quite care. My eyes were riveted in between the doctor and London, looking so fragile on the table.
“How bad is it?” I asked slowly, and even I heard the choking of my voice.
“Detrimental, I’m afraid,” he said in a conflictingly unemotional voice. But you have to give him some credit—he saw this sort of thing all the time. Life was a matter of time and numbers, not experiences and people…
“London has cancer, Edward,” dad said from behind me, coming up with my mother toward the table. “Cancer of the liver.”
No. No, no, no… That wasn’t real and it wasn’t true. How dare they feed me a lie? London, my London, was a perfectly healthy cat without any problems whatsoever…
Even I couldn’t believe myself. My words were so absurd and worn-out…
“How…does he…?” I couldn’t make myself form the question that racked my brain.
“Walk?” dad asked. “He…can’t walk. The cancer…spread from his liver to his legs so fast—we didn’t see it coming.”
“He couldn’t eat much,” mom mumbled, supplying to my growing fear. “He would gripe and yowl but we never knew what he wanted…Oh, Edward, please stop crying…” She went over to wipe my face. Was I crying? I couldn’t tell; I was just that numb.
“I told you not to get so attached to him,” dad chided, trying to cover the fact that he, too, was depressed by it. London wasn’t just for me; he was a part of us all. Now he wasn’t a part of anything.
“How…how long does he have…?” But at that moment, my mom squeezed my shoulders tightly. As if she were trying to hold me together.
As if I didn’t know what the doctor was going to say.
“London’s gone,” he told me. “In the time that your parents went to pick you up, London…passed away. I’m sorry.” As if he took the cue from the tears I felt stinging my eyes and the fury I felt thrilling in my bones, he excused himself from the room. Uninhibited, and I knew I was crying, I went over to where London was.
He was still warm. I held his little body in my hands, trying to preserve everything that I had with London in the time I had him. The burning crumbling walls in my mind came down then. London, London, London…my London, my perfect London…I love you, London. My mind raced, making me incredibly dizzy.
I would have passed out right there had it not been a hospital for animals. I felt London being pulled away from my arms. No! You can’t do that!! I wanted to scream, but it felt like my mouth was sewn shut. Oh God, it was horrible. God knew it was the darkest day of my life.
The next events were hazy. I remember getting in a car and driving straight home. There were periods of blackness in between. I remember stumbling into the door and heading right for my room. London’s things were still there. His bed, his food… All still alive with the essence of him. But he wasn’t there. It was confusing to my much-addled mind. I fell right into my bed, and was much expecting London to crawl up right beside my ear like he usually did. But he didn’t…
And it was with a black, sinking heart that I realized he never would again.
It was only weeks later that I started to get better. But I didn’t feel right when I walked. Apparently I was like a zombie at school, on the one day I attended which was graduation. I came to out of another period of blackness to repetitions of “Edward Kramer…Edward Kramer…”. I shuffled up the stage and spoke in a mechanical voice when I had to, but I was otherwise silent. I waited until the procession was over and then I went right home.
The people I saw as friends were worried. I hadn’t seen nor talked to them, or anyone in weeks. I protested when they came over and tried to do an intervention by taking away London’s—it hurt me to say the name—bed. That was a sacred thing; nobody could touch that.
The middle of July was when I finally started to do other things. But mostly, I was in the studio working on M. It had to get done…
That was when I had a huge idea. I took all of M’s lyrics and trashed them. I wrote a new song with a new idea in my head—an idea that was very much alive a few months ago.
Within the space of an hour, it was written. Within the space of two hours I got down the basic vocals. Within four I had done the piano, and within five it was complete. It was much too fragile to even touch further, because it was about the perfect thing in the world.
I went back to the computer and made the final adjustments before sending it to Christian. I’m sure he’d enjoy that I replaced our epic M but I’m sure he’d understand… Christian was Christian after all; he’d understand even if his shit-ass friends didn’t.
But it was without a title. I racked my brain, slogging around for the right words—just M was completely out of the question. And then I had one; the perfect and most descriptive one, yet it was simple.
A SONG FOR L
A song for L because the L in question was not to be forgotten. A song for L because it was all I could for him. A song for L… was perfect.
Within the next week, Christian came over. It was the first time I’d seen him in ages, and it seemed he had changed. He had longer hair, and I think he had a piercing somewhere. But it didn’t matter what he looked like—though I was probably a mess.
“Ed,” he said. “How do you want me to do this?”
“Any way you want,” I told him simply—the deadness in my voice hadn’t left.
“This is a really nice thing,” he said; “you know. For London.” He smiled at me from the corner of his lips. “I don’t think you’re crazy for loving London so much. I understand.”
“Thank you,” I said simply, and right then I wanted to cry. I knew I could rely on him to be understanding.
He started playing just as I turned on the track. It started with the piano before he started going right then. It was like a well of inspiration, I could feel it coming from him, had opened up for us. Like A Song For L was a sudden light for both of us…and in all respects, it was. He even started singing background vocals, something I had neglected to do. It turned out amazingly well.
So I was surprised to find even Christian crying at the end of it.
“Are you…?” I said, not expecting this reaction.
“Edward,” he said—he hadn’t used my full first name in ever; “that song was brilliant. Oh my god.” He looked like he was going to cry more. “I’m so glad that I got to do this. Ah, wow, I must seem like a jackass right now…”
“Not at all,” I assured him.
“Thanks. But…yeah. I’m sure London, wherever he is, would be as proud of you as much as a cat could be.”
I realized then, that I, not them, not London’s death was the reason I was a shut-in. I didn’t say anything—rather, I couldn’t. How in the hell could someone show so much compassion to me? Me, who was being so selfish by wrapping himself up in his own misery and coddling it like a baby. London was gone. But I had to be over it now, otherwise I would be here, forever.
My realization took all of three seconds. I didn’t really answer Christian, but I didn’t need to, really. I just mixed it on the computer and then played it back for us.
What I heard was me, and Christian, singing back to us about the story of a person who felt he lost everything but found the light of life around them when he found that what he lost was all around him. A Song For L ended with somber instruments before both the guitar and the piano came to a close on one note. If I had any other words for it besides touching, it would sound gloating, but who cared? I was allowed to gloat for my best accomplishment, and for Christian’s. I’m sure he felt that too. There weren’t any words; none needed to be said. The room was silent after the final product. The silence was amazing, and it was engrossing. In the silence, I felt another mind join us in the room, another baser mind and yet I knew it inside and out. I smiled, and didn’t say anything. Christian would have thought I was damned crazy.
A Song For L was my pride and joy—it feels weird saying that at twenty, but it was true. It found a place on the band’s next album, although shortly after we made it, we disbanded. It was a stupid reason too, but things were said…and they were things that couldn’t be taken back.
London was a big part of my life. I know, you’re thinking, “Calm down. He was just a cat”. But really, he wasn’t just a cat. He was a friend. He was something I went home to. He was a lifesaver in the dark, choppy sea of reality. In the end, it’s what we all really need.
It’s weird telling this story again. Even two years after it happened. But love’s love, right…no matter who it’s between?
For me, it was between myself and a forever immortalized ginger tabby.