Our two geriatric gerbils, Clang and Klink, were euthanized this morning by a kind and sympathetic vet.
I am surprised by how sad I am. I hadn’t considered them particularly interesting, these gerbils, and yet as I talked to the vet I found myself able to tell her amusing anecdotes, as if they’d been little people with personalities and quirks: how they used to box and Clang would always win; how Klink seemed convinced that he could dig through glass, if only he kept at it long enough; how yesterday, when it was clear they were both sick, they had huddled together and seemed to comfort one another. They were brothers.
Hug the people you love today. The gerbs lived well; they grew old. Bodies break down. This is all of us, on fast-forward and in miniature.