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Remember: Goodbye Midnight

Friday, April 9, 2010

Goodbye Midnight

1.

The first time I hung out with my friend Jon Bendas, was during the Philadelphia 76ers playoff run in 2001. Jon came in, sat down on the couch and we began to watch the game. I overheard him mention something about a cat and before I had the chance to warn him, he exclaimed: "The (expletive deleted) bit me!" Jon and I remain good friends despite some political differences. Perhaps Midnight was attempting to warn me...

2.

I don't really remember the girl's name but I know she was a friend of my buddy Eric. He brought her to my house one evening and as a cat lover, she rejoiced when she saw Midnight. He was a big cat, black as the back end of a cave and with two huge gold eyes that can only be described as nearly human. I warned her not to pet him. Despite his beautiful appearance, Midnight had a real temperament about him. he even bit a priest once. All of a sudden, the house filled with shrieks and the girl ran past me headed towards the bathroom. I followed and heard her exclaim "The (expletive deleted) bit me!"

3.

I was in the sixth grade. My mother was running the vacuum when the doorbell rang. As quickly as the door was opened a black blur came running past. I knelt down and looked under the coffee table to see two gold eyes staring back at me. It was a cat. My mother shut the door and turned the vacuum back on. The cat darted out from under the table and headed upstairs. Shortly thereafter, we named him Midnight. he was my first pet.

4,

Midnight was missing for a week. With the time he spent outside we had figured him for dead or lost. It turned out to be otherwise. I heard my neighbor,standing in the yard next door, claiming she had conjured "the evil" in her basement. She could it hear it howling. As a practitioner of Wicca, I imagine she thought this was a bloodcurdling success. I ran outside and told her she had to open up the cellar door. After much protest, she opened the door and out of it, Midnight came flying. She screamed "It's the evil! It's the evil!" I told her it was my cat.
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My cell phone rang around 9PM last night. It was my mother. Before I could say hello, she told me that Midnight was dead. I went downstairs, and next to the washer, in the bathroom was his body. It was strange to see such stillness from a cat that never had a still moment in his life. He survived being hit by a car, being locked in the neighbor's basement for a week, he survived almost everything.

Midnight grew up with me. He followed me around often, even in his last old, sad, and increasing hobbled days. He was always a feral cat and his eyes were filled with a real wildness. He would spend nights outside and oftentimes leave me stumbling around my neighbors yards at 2AM in the summer with a bag of food and a flashlight trying to get him home.

My father and I dug a hole and buried my cat. This is the third cat I have buried but the only cat I've ever buried that felt like a friend. Yes, Midnight was a mean cat. He was mean because he never lost his sense of wildness. I envy him for that.

John Bennett never thought he could die, I don't think Gerry did either. Liz and Matt called him Doom Kitty and Matt would run from the sight of him. Midnight used to love begging table scraps and did so at claw-point very often. Matt was particularly bothered by it. He would claw the ankles of friends for no reason as they passed, he would hiss at our other cats unprovoked, he would sit on your lap long enough to lull you into security and leave you saying

"He bit me"

I loved him for it. He was a great animal, and a friend. I'll miss you buddy. I imagine it will take me awhile to stop checking for you while I am eating.

Goodbye Midnight.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Capri said...

Sorry for your loss, Andrew, it sounds like Midnight had a great spirit and made the most of having 9 lives.

April 9, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Losing a pet is so awful but I think you've crafted a great tribute to a quirky and obviously beloved member of your family.

April 9, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

That (explicative deleted) bit me too. Many times.

April 9, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Thank you Capri and Alyssa, Katie, you probably deserved it. Just saying.

April 9, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

OMG, Andrew, you totally have me tearing up right now. I have 3 cats of my own, the oldest of which is a bitchy calico farm cat who I've had for 9 years. It took her 7 years and a near-death experience to be nice to me (and a few select other folks) and even now any cuddling, petting, lap-sitting is still 100% on her terms. But she's my girl, my bubba, my child, my companion. Reading your post made me remember that her day is coming too and how much I'll miss her. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you as I sit at my desk and cry for you and Midnight.

April 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Although I was one of his many victims, I will miss Midnight. I never stopped trying to get him to let me pet him, even though I knew he would hiss at or bite me. I often said he would be better off dead, but losing a pet is never that simple. I will always remember midnight with fondness, as for me personally he was a staple of the Kleiner home and my time spent there.

April 9, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KLEINER :

I am sincerely very sorry for your loss.

I have two adopted cats from a broken home (divorce) myself.

It was either me or the shelter. (which I considered a death sentence)

I have been around cats all my life. Many have come and gone. And it is NEVER easy.

My guys now can't last forever and I think about that sometimes.

But...it IS better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.

And...good time and memories are priceless.

It would appear as if you got a bit of mileage out of Midnight.

With that in mind, once again, my condolences.

OELER

April 9, 2010 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger jaime said...

Oh, the tears. This is a beautiful tribute to such a handsome little guy.

April 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous monkey momma said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, Andrew. The deal we make as human pet companions is that we know we'll have to say goodbye to our beloved friend one day. It's never easy, but midnight was sure lucky to have such an understanding owner. Most wouldn't have tolerated Midnight's antics, but you did. That says a lot about your character, which is a life-long gift Midnight gave you. My condolences.

April 9, 2010 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems both amazing and quite ordinary that a human being can miss a pet that never inspired one normal pet comment, "He's such good cat", "What an awesome cat", etc. I never heard any of the Kleiner family, or any of your close friends say one good thing about semi-feral Midnight. Whenever I'd say "I like that cat", there would always be the predictable reaction muttered in formidable swear-words.

Besides being casually avoided, except when he pestered you for food, I actually have seen people leave the living room sofa when he jumped up onto a cushion.
I guess we humans can easily forgive a dead antagonist if he has habituated us to his presence
for 15 years or more. Especially if he is a rather small and furry creature moving about in our household for all of that time.
I liked Midnight. He had a unique, over-sized brow. Composed eyes that provoked me into thinking he had a strong interior life: not a human's, but something other than a cat's. He never bit me.


uncle frank

April 9, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

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