They Left When She Did

They left when she did, the birds, the squirrels, and the cats, even the flowers withered and died in her absence. Everything she had nurtured and cherished in the years she had lived there, was now forced to seek solace and comfort elsewhere, or fade and die. It broke her heart to drive by the house observing the gradual disintegration.

Santana, the black feral cat and mother of her feral, now tame, Solace, had visited the boys who were renting the house, she relied on them for food and water, just as she had done the same with Billie when she lived there. The boys said, “one day she didn’t show up and we never saw her again.”

When Billie lived there, Santana would visit Solace at night. She would climb up on the outside window ledge and he would sit in his cat tree and they would talk to each other in cat language.

Billie fretted over Santana when she was moving out. She went back and forth about taking her with her. Eventually she decided it would be better for Santana to stay where she was familiar, given she was feral and had only ever lived in the area, rather than taking her to a new area, where she would have to live outside and find new shelter, etc., The emotional part for her was knowing she was taking her son Solace away from her.

She was gone three years, Billie was. She moved to another part of town, bought a house with her partner and rented out the house she loved so dearly. She rented the house to three brothers. They were great tenants. Paid the rent on time and kept the house in great shape. The only thing damaged when they moved out was the back yard and the screens in the sunroom. The yard was ruined due to the three dogs they had running circles around the yard, turning the grass into mud. They stayed two years. Billie installed new sod in the yard.

The next renter was a single woman who moved to the area to take a job. They shared similar interests and befriended each other. The renter paid on time, but purchased two puppies without Billie’s permission, adding to her already allowed two dogs, this now made four dogs. One of the dogs suffered from separation anxiety, which caused all kinds of issues for the renter.

The renter stayed a year. When she moved out, not only was the yard back to its ruined state, but the hardwood floors were ruined and the dog urine smell in the house was so bad, Billie thought she would never get rid of it!

Her relationship ended. When the second renter moved out Billie moved back into her beloved house. For weeks she worked to get the house back into shape; wood floors redone, bathrooms retiled, rooms painted, new blinds, new lighting in the living room and kitchen, new light switches in the bathroom and when all was done she bought new furniture. She had been without a sofa for eight weeks by the time it arrived. It had never occurred to her how little she could relax without a sofa to sit on. She had never been a “sit in a chair and relax” kind of girl.

Billie cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned. She cleaned the windows, inside and out. Cleaned the blinds, the woodwork, the front porch, the sun room. She burned sage anti-clockwise and then clockwise through the house, burned candles and incense, ran the essential oils for hours through the infuser, all to cleanse and clear the house of previous energies and entities…

The winter was mild that year. One round of snow and ice and a few below freezing nights. The trees finally shed their remaining leaves during a hard rainfall in January. It was early in February when Billie looked out of the window into her front garden and noticed a daffodil was blooming. Billie placed her bird feeders and bird baths back out in the front garden and began filling them each day with fresh food and water. She gave out a call, “okay birds and squirrels, flowers and plants, I’m home, you can all come back now.” At first only the crows came to graze, then slowly day by day, all kinds of birds reappeared. The squirrels began playing in the trees again, jumping from limb to limb and tree to tree. It made her heart happy to see the animals and flowers answering her call

The first few weeks back in the house Solace would walk through the house at night crying. He would climb up in the windows crying out loud. She felt he was crying for his momma, Santana. Billie put cat food and water out on the front porch. Within days a small tabby cat appeared. She was small in frame, like Santana, and although this cat was a grey tabby and Santana was pure black, they had similar spirits. Surprisingly after a few visits she let Billie stroke her. Billie gave her the name “Kneader,” because whenever she saw Billie, Kneader immediately started to knead.

Kneader quickly became a regular visitor, and even began to climb up on the window ledge, just like Santana used to do. Solace climbed up in the window too, and they began talking to each other just like when Santana came around. Solace stopped crying at night, and so too did Billie!


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