There's been some trouble at home since I left. Trouble with my cat. Some old lady (using a tactful word, not the one I want to use) complained to the HOA about her "trying to trip her" - aka rubbing against her legs as cats tend to do - so Rosie was no longer allowed to go outside. Rosie loved outside. It was her favorite thing. All she wanted to do was stalk birds and tease confined dogs and run.
It was a difficult transition for Rosie to stay inside. She tried to bite my mother's legs a few times, and after she attacked my niece - it was an unprovoked attack - it was decided Rosie would go live with my grandma and Uncle Mark. Mark was sure he could cure her of her biting.
After only a few days, Rosie, again unprovoked, viciously attacked my grandma. So my cousin, a vet tech and devout animal lover, came and got Rosie, and it was determined - without consulting me or my parents - that Rosie needed to be put down. So she was. None of us found out until after the fact. I found out this afternoon.
I'm in the weeds on homework, but I couldn't stay in my apartment. I decided to do something I haven't done since living in New York and walk the 2 blocks from my apartment to Central Park. A walk in the park for Rosie.
I left once I felt like I had it together enough that I wouldn't cry on the street. I walked down 84th, across Park, across Madison, and across Fifth Avenue. I was in front of the Met. Red, square umbrellas stood in from of the north and south wings of the building. People lounged on the stairs; street vendors and Halal carts sold hot dogs and gyros and chicken with rice, bottles of water and Diet Coke. Little silver carts emitted the smell of sweet nuts, like you smell in malls at Christmas. It's a grand building, with pillars and tall windows and history - inside and out.
I walked past the Met parking entrance and turned right into Central Park. Green benches lined the paved pathway. People sat and talked, or read, or just looked. I followed the curve of the path left. I just walked and thought and was sad. I walked underneath a bridge - briefly considering whether or not to go up and around and over it - and a dad and his daughter walked the opposite way. Through my music I could hear her talking rapidly about the playground they'd come from.
I followed the path down to the boat pond. There were no boats today, only ducks causing ripples in the dark water.
I could still see too much of the city, so I turned right and followed the path west, deeper into the park. I could see a red "Do Not Walk" hand through the foliage, so I turned left and went under a bridge that carried cabs and cars and carts above.
Up some stairs and with more angular walking, I came to the Lake House and the lake. I passed a woman pushing a red stroller and an older couple, both dressed in black, holding hands. I looked right at the lake; a willow tree was reaching it long limbs down towards the water, swaying slightly in the minute breeze.
I came to Bethesda Fountain, the famous one. It's the one with the angel statue in the middle of the fountain. The one that's in every movie or television series that takes place in New York. I remember an episode of Sex in the City where Carrie is sitting on the edge of it, eating a cup of ice cream, or something, wearing an outfit I hated. I sat on the edge of that fountain and bit my lip hard to keep away the tears.
I loved Rosie maybe more than I'd ever loved anything. I was dejected; heartbroken that she'd died without anyone she knew there to soothe her. I felt like it was my fault for leaving her in Utah when I moved to follow my dreams. I felt responsible; I was her person and I was supposed to watch over her. Instead I abandoned her and wasn't there to protect or defend her.
The fact is that she'd attacked me in July the way she attacked my grandma. I thought her attack of me was reactionary - she hadn't come in earlier in the evening on a holiday weekend and was outside when neighbors started setting off arial fireworks. But I knew that night that if she did this to anyone else, even if it was much milder than what she had done to me, that the inevitable consequence would be what it ended up being.
But I'm still heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for my grandma whom I know feels emotionally awful, and for her black and blue arm and the tetanus shot she had to get and the antibiotics she now has to take. I'm heartbroken for my parents because they feel terribly about it, and I know once my brother and his family have finished their vacation and leave, my mother will feel Rosie's absence greatly. I'm heartbroken that when I go home for Christmas, she won't be there. The reunion I envisioned, where I'm so happy to see her and she looks at me indifferently but sleeps as close as she can get at my side for the next two weeks, won't happen. There will be no more Party Mix cat treats in Meow Luau and Backyard BBQ and Wild West flavors. Mostly I'm heartbroken for her. And I hope I gave her a better, happier life than she had at the end of it.
I stood up and walked through the tunnels, which smelled like a barn, and up the steps to The Mall. I turned left; it was getting close to sunset and I needed to head home. I walked up the paved paths, deciding if I walked north and east eventually I'd come out close to where I came in. I passed a fenced in area that had a banner across the entrance "Welcome to the Stage! Summer 2014". It was Summer Stage. I turned east and crossed the street that I'd gone under earlier. I walked up a slight hill and came back down at the boat pond. I took a different path than the one I'd come on, and passed the Alice in Wonderland statue. A little family, parents and a baby just old enough to sit up on her own, were taking pictures in front of it.
I followed the path I was on as it curved right and out of the park. I was on 79th Street. I walked back up Fifth Avenue, back past the Met. The stairs were empty. The food carts were closed. The lights were on, illuminating the building and the water in the fountains that bookended the stairs up to the main doors.
I walked to the corner of 84th and waited for the light to change. "Empire State of Mind" came on shuffle. I crossed the street, walked past the empty parking spaces that had signs reading "Diplomat Parking Only". I crossed Madison where the traffic was backed up. The walk sign was green at Park. As I crossed Lexington "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" came on. The song ended as I put my key into my door.