Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Varley O’Connor lives in a suburban neighborhood in Stow, Ohio, where she walks her Burmese cat, Tadeu Jiro, on a leash. She is the author of The Cure (Bellevue Literary Press) and teaches writing at Kent State University.
I no longer felt I had to “let go” of my first family, as some had counseled. I had two daughters, one I held in my arms and one I held in my memory, but both were equally real. In this new present I could remember and cherish Doria without pain. Feeding Laura in her highchair, I told her that Doria had opened her mouth the same way, like a baby bird.
I want to tell you about a cat — a sublime creature entrusted to me in my youth — that I allowed to die. There were extenuating circumstances, but there always are. I forgive myself nothing. She loved me, and I let her down. I committed a terrible crime.