I could fill a book with the names we gave to you, with the characters those names became.
Ghostface Killah, of course, bestowed when my friends rescued you, all thin and angry and otherworldly. Named, as I later found out, after a spider Sam once lived with, themselves the rapper’s namesake. Then the inevitable diminutives and extractions. Ghostie (your government name), Ghostele, Ghostavic, Ghostly Goatface. There were others, by-and-large mean or scatological. The kind of things young, barely functioning alcoholic men may find the height of wit, omitted here for the sake of all. None of them captured anything of you.
Later came the more realised nom-de-cuddles:
Mrs. Ploppers -CEO of Ploppington Farms (a subsidiary of Globex inc), producers of the world famous Rat Cakes.
Woofles (who developed the ‘Woofle Bounce’ dance sensation)
Mrs. Brenda Miggins, Matriarch of the Miggins family (including young tearaway Billy Miggins, also you). This became just Miggins. Miggs. Miggs Migsley. Miggleacious. Infinite variations, and latterly, your most frequent name.
Mrs. Yum Tufts (owner, proprietor of Yum Tuft Cafe, home of the Yum Tuft)
Pussy Bambini, 1920s Hollywood starlet and studio hellraiser
Booboo ‘Shabooboo’ Miggins, *outrageous* drag queen (unrelated to the Miggins dynasty, also the proprietor of an eatery ‘Shabooboo’s Diner’).
But there is one name I won’t mention. The name your first house gave you. I called you by it just once. The sharp turn, the way you looked at me- frozen, pan-eyed and pin-eared, full of fear and rage. In that moment you told me everything I needed to know about your former life.
I wish I could have known you longer. I wish you were rescued sooner. You quickly went from being a risible, curious house cat, to my dear friend, to my most beloved. I feel robbed of the time we didn’t have, but the time we did is more precious than I can truly express.
The last two years, we looked after you, as you had looked after me through tragedy and near-fatal ailments. Two years of time and emotional weight; of sickening stress and wonder and joy, leaving now an unfillable void I don’t know how to begin to salve or plaster over. But I wouldn’t take any moment back. There would be no holiday I didn’t go on, no event I missed that could equate to the time with you it bought. I’m as glad of this as I am introducing you to Annie. If there’s nothing else good that comes out of my life, I have done this one thing. Introducing two soulmates, two best friends.
The soft, white, roller-proof hairs that clung to everything. Once infuriatingly abundant, they are now so desperately rare.
I can’t bring myself to write much more.
Rest easy, my darling. I hope you find Miles and show him how to really howl.