Thursday, January 17, 2013

Emma Goulding (1996-2013)

Dear Scarlett,
Tonight we said goodbye to our dear cat Emma. That's the same line I wrote to you when Smokey left us last May, and it seemed fitting to use it again. Emma and Smokey were quite a pair. She was never the same after he was gone.

But her sweet, demanding "Emma" personality still came through. She loved to stalk around the couch in the evenings, yowling at me and Dad to pet her, finally jumping up to sit with us and make it a little easier. She seemed to find her second wind at night, after we'd all gone to sleep, and would meow as loudly as possible. Sometimes from your room, we would hear a little "Hussss!" We all had to hush Emma on a regular basis.

I remember one day a year or so ago when our neighbor Jackson told me that he could hear Emma so clearly that he thought she was in his bedroom. He went tearing down the hallway to his mom and dad's room to tell them there was a cat under his bed. That is how loud Emma could be. When Dad and I lived in New York, our next door neighbor once asked us how the baby was doing. "The baby?" we looked at each other. We didn't have a baby. We think she was talking about Emma, singing her cat songs through the walls. Smokey, though he had it in him to be rowdy, really only yelled when someone was sleeping.

Emma was a lover of music, and Dad says she always had a specific fondness for female vocalists. She was a little timid around strangers, but gained some confidence during her later years and became more of a visible presence when guests were here, at which point she usually required them to shove over and make room for her on the couch.

You liked to spin her around in my old office chair, something that I am guessing was not on her list of top ten ways to spend the day. Chasing Emma became something of a past time, too, and I came into the living room more than once to find you battling a speaker twice your size in order to get to Emma, who cowered behind the TV.

There were a few nights when Emma somehow got stuck in your room behind the futon (I'm guessing you cornered her there), and we didn't find out until the middle of the night, when she started meowing and you started screaming "I DO NOT LIKE EMMA!" at the top of your lungs.

But you did like her. In fact, you have been fascinated with her, saying hello to her throughout the day and marveling over her eating habits. "Look!" you'd exclaim during a meal. "Me is eating breakfast with Emma!"

Some of my favorite memories of Emma come from this thing she used to do in New York, something she never really did in San Francisco. She would sit on things--anything that we put on the floor. You can see what I'm talking about here and here and here. She was quite a character.

I am really going to miss her.