It’s Virtute’s last night living here at Dublin Street. We’ve been having conversations off and on over these last few days of what it will mean to move and how to make the transition easier. This afternoon we spent about an hour searching around the house for lost 1.5″ mylar crinkle balls, we sorted his cans of food (he obviously told me to place chicken pate at the top so that it will be the first one Jenny opens for him in the new place), and we also spent time chatting with Gumption.
Gumption is the wild card in this whole process. She’s never lived without Virtute and it will be important for us to see how she adapts to living on her own. I overheard Gumption and Virtute having a conversation earlier today. Gumption seemed nervous about forging ahead on her own – she talked about how much she’s learned from Virtute (how to window hunt birds; how to find the best napping spots to catch maximum rays of sunshine; how to play ball; how to fight for herself). Gumption worried that without Virtute around, she’d lose her way.
I expected some dramatic and comprehensive list from Virtute on the dos and don’ts of life. He’s usually always good for lengthy monologues of advice. But in this instant he stayed quiet. Extending out his right paw, he gently tapped Gumption’s shoulder in an affectionate way. Finally, he spoke, “I don’t have any specific advice for you, but I’ve learned a great lesson from John C. Reilly’s character Dewey Cox in the comedy film Walk Hard.” Now this was something I was going to stick around to hear. It definitely didn’t seem to be the time to reference a movie where the main character lives with the demons of accidentally cutting his brother in half while sword-fighting, resulting in the oft-spoken lines “You halved me Dewey!”
“At the end of the film, Dewey Cox is reflecting on his life,” Virtute continued, “when he suddenly gets the idea for one last great song. Are you listening Gumption?” Virtute tapped her shoulder again to re-focus her attention from the string she had begun playing with.
“Here’s my advice for you Gummy,” Virtute said with unusual care.
“In the end
It’s family and friends
But not only yourself
It’s about the good walk
And the hard walk
And the kittens you’ve made cry
It’s about makin’ a little music everyday ‘til you die
It’s a beautiful ride”
And just like that, Virtute slunk off the bed, ran downstairs and returned with a 1.5″ mylar crinkle ball. He turned to Gumption and said, “I guess this is yours now. You’re going to have to learn this game on your own.”
I sat to ponder this act of kindness and to reflect upon the two years that we spent living together. Though I will undoubtedly see Virtute regularly, I couldn’t help but think that he was right: it’s been a beautiful ride.