In Memory of Mango

My friend Mango died this morning, he was 17, one of those handfulla people where you’ve known them longer than you’ve known yourself. He peed about 30 times a day. That’s the way to do it. Had lots of phlegm, always. Licked people’s mosquito bites, but never their faces. He’d wake me up at 7:30 every morning by breathing his sewerbreath on my face or putting a paw on my mouth. Hated pigeons so fucking much but with age he mellowed and just started looking at them, until eventually not even that. He never bit a person or dog in his life. Zen. Came here from France in 1912 without a penny to his name and he never complained about anything with more than asigh. I think he was even courteous about teething, chewed on shit that nobody needed anyway. He had sex three times with his companion Lady until my mom kept finding them stuck together and was like, “OK enough of this,” and then, after being neutered, he was basically just as mellow as before. He was the kinda friend you’d invite to something that involves lots of waiting. He was curious, but not that curious. It was neat to be so bookish and to know and love and celebrate all these ords words words and then come home to someone who knows like four words. Somebody who’s known you long enough to know you better than most other people except he knows you intuitively, wordlessly, and with all that endless affection and patience and thanks. An affection that, with age, you naturally become self-critical about. You do this and that thing wrong. All these shortcomings. You think, hey, maybe you don’t deserve lots of affection. Just in general—the usual feeling. That you’re just irredeemably flawed. And if you give voice to that doubt, people come at you with words of reassurance. Words words words. But there’s not a word of reassurance, of love, so resonant and assuring as that waft of sewerbreath every morning. 7:30. Same as yesterday, same as tomorrow. And if tomorrow it’s not there, I guess you just have to remind yourself that it would’ve been. Cuz what else in life was ever so constant?

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