19 years ago Paul and I rescued a tiny kitten from the MSPCA.  I liked his weird blue fur.  For three weeks he didn’t have a name, until his habit of endlessly sprinting the length of the hallway prompted us to call him Rocket.

He ruined shoes.  He stole food off the counter.  He obsessively hunted q-tips.  His demeanor alternated between quietly regal and goofball spastic.  His favorite perch was either draped across your shoulders, or in the middle of whatever you happened to be working on.  Relentlessly mischievous, Rocket was never malicious, except the time we brought home another kitten to keep him company.  Then he shat in the center of our bed.

After Paul and I moved apart I didn’t see Rocket as much as I would have liked.  But any time I did visit I was greeted like an old friend.  Yesterday Paul called to tell me that Rocket did not have much time left.  Kidney problems and old age made him frail, sometimes confused by his surroundings, and in pain. I was able to visit one last time and sit quietly on the porch as he leaned against my leg, trying to appear aloof, but gently nudging my hand when I stopped petting him.

Today there is a little furry blue-gray hole in the world.