The car was too quiet today.

I haven’t felt like writing for the last week, since Sampras died. I’ve forced myself a couple of times, but my heart wasn’t in it. Someone is missing from my life and it makes everything harder, sadder.

Today I picked up his ashes from the vet’s office.

I know people probably think it’s strange to keep your pet’s ashes, but it didn’t seem right to just leave him there.

As I drove to work, the little box sitting on the passenger seat beside me, I was struck by how quiet it was in the car.

Sampras was never quiet in the car. He hated cars.

He’d start out with a few tentative meows, just to voice his growing concern.

Then the meows would turn into what I called meowls, loud gut-wrenching cries that sounded like he was having his claws pulled out with pliers, one by one.

I’d talk to him, turn the radio up, stick my fingers in the carrier. Nothing would stop his mournful noise.

Then all on his own, he’d go silent. And just when I’d become convinced that something was wrong because he was too quiet, he’d let out a tiny little kitten mew.

That small cry broke my heart every time.

We once took him with us to Maine on vacation. The vet recommended a sedative since he became so agitated in the car.

I don’t know if he felt more calm or not, but he certainly wasn’t any less noisy. He repeated the meow-meowl-silence-mew cycle over and over for the entire three hour ride. I don’t know who was more exhausted when we arrived at our destination, him or me.

Over the past sixteen years, I have spent countless trips begging Sam to stop meowing, trying to soothe him, pleading with him to calm down, just be quiet.

But today I wanted nothing more than to have the car filled with his meowls.

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