I miss Darth.
He'd been a constant neighborhood fixture since we moved here in March.
Stalking through our backyard, hunting little woodland creatures.
Sitting tall in our frontyard sometimes when we'd drive up to the house.
That time he was asleep on our patio, curled up next to our garden gnome.
That 5am parade of creatures I saw out back once -- deer, Darth, and finally a fox -- all moving left to right across the backyard with just a couple minutes between each.
It might be obvious that I love cats.
Ages 5 to 25, we had an all-black cat named Spooky (I was 5, my sister 3, my brother 7 -- we hadn't come into our greatest naming powers). I remember a neighbor brought him to us as a kitten while she was watching us and our parents were away to celebrate their anniversary or something. The 70s were different.
Spooky was our third cat -- first Patches (who ran away during a blizzard, went feral, and we'd see him every now and again for years -- he grew huge in the wild) and then Tiger's untimely end.
And then I had come into another all-black Wallace in my first marriage. He passed away late last year.
So Darth was part of a long line -- and his outdoor hunter ways brought me all the way back to Spooky. He was like that even in his 20th year with only one tooth left in his mouth and a heart condition.
Darth is the namesake cat in the title of the chapbook I've been kicking around / pitching, "Neighborhood Cats Hide Under Parked Cars in the Rain."
But Darth is no more. I found him on the curb in front of our house earlier this week.
Hit by a car? Probably, but he wasn't mangled. It looked like it went quick.
It was at the end of a hard day, coming home to that, and I nearly lost my shit then and there. But that would wait until the next day -- fellow cat-guy Chris Toll's birthday and hearing "We Will Live Again" (one of Mole Suit Choir's many tributes to Toll?) come up on shuffle play and it all being a bit too much.
I didn't all out lose it, but I probably could've used it.
Goodnight, Darth. And hello to all the future Darths in my life, that's the way it goes and always has.