Losing Snuggles

Written by Varrick Kwang
Art by Shane Aldernoff

Terry hated how he never got to spend more time with Snuggles. He hated how drivers can be so careless and view animal lives as insignificant. He despised the driver who did not even bother to look at the poor feline that he had run over, much less render any help. He especially despised how his parents never had time for him and Snuggles, and therefore, did not grieve as much.

He especially hated how the rain was so heavy that he could hardly see anything in the fog save for the headlights of oncoming vehicles. Motor vehicles zipped through the wet roads, but none of them were buses. Terry was the only person trapped in the bus stop, under the downpour. 

Time, like the rain, came and went by in a flash. 

From the first time he adopted Snuggles from the center to the moment he saw the feline’s corpse on the cold, steel desk of the vet’s an hour ago.

It all started when he was merely fourteen, when he brought home the ginger kitten from the adoption center. He remembered the euphoria and joy he felt on the way home, and that his folks felt the same as him.. They meshed up all the windows so the cat would not crawl to the windows and fall off. Terry also set up cat trees, boxes and cat beds around the house, making a cat Disneyland out of it. 

Now that he’s thinking back to it, his parents probably agreed to having a cat to get that whiny boy off their backs about spending time with him.

All he could see back then was their shared excitement–the kitten for his new home, and their son, living with his new fluffy friend. 

Snuggles, from day one, brought joy to the family. He warmed up to Terry the most and gave him what he would be named after–the first of ever soft and warm snuggles.

He had never regretted adopting Snuggles. 

Every time the fluffy,ginger boy meowed, he had his human wrapped around his little paws tighter. 

Terry slept the best when Snuggles slept with him.

Snuggles was everything to Terry.  

His parents? Maybe not. They wouldn’t even spend time with their own son they gave birth to, let alone a cat adopted from a center for the same person. Have they ever even bonded with Snuggles, or even Terry himself, for that matter?   

When Terry turned eighteen, he celebrated his birthday by guzzling three cans of stout. He hobbled home half-drunk in the afternoon, where he knew his folks were still busy at work, so busy that they could not remember their son’s birthday. But Snuggles came through meowing and pawing at the door even before Terry opened it.

Terry let Snuggles leap up into his embrace, surprised that the precious little cat was not repulsed by the alcohol stench on him. They chatted into the night, like old drinking buddies would. Snuggles tucked Terry into bed before the latter’s parents could see their son’s drunken behaviour. 

The death of Snuggles made it feel like the house was an incomplete puzzle.

The torrents of rain only got heavier each second. Rainwater splattered onto Terry and the inside of the bus stop as they fell from the sky. Even the shelters of the bus stop weren’t wide enough to shield him completely, and his clothes started to soak. 

Petrichor never smelled more stale. Terry could never understand how and why some people romanticize the smell of rain, but now, he was trying to talk about how. No better outlet to divert the anger than to the rain. 

The rumbles of thunder did not slow down either. Each of them threatened to blow Terry’s eardrums into smithereens. 

There were no signs of any buses coming. While he’s going to be stuck for sometime being stuck there, he will have at least some time to wipe his tears before he gets on a bus where there’ll be other people. 

Under the white rage and the whirlwind of turmoil inside, Terry wanted to curse at everything in the world. Why was it raining at this hour? Why were there no buses? Why did such a kind soul die the way he did? Who the hell could run over a little cat like that? 

There were still no buses. A familiar pain pounded inside his head. His heart did not stop aching for the poor kitten. This is going to be a long night indeed.