For so many, the last two years have been a time of fear and unhappiness, outside forces conspiring to make the world smaller while the people we have always trusted to make that world larger and safer seem more focused on the pennies in their pockets than they are on the lives of the people who depend on them. It’s been difficult. People have been turning to whatever comfort they can find, and for some, that’s meant food, baking bread and perfecting recipes. For others, crafts, knitting the perfect sweater or painting the next great masterpiece.
And for many, it’s meant welcoming new lives into our families, bringing home sweet little bundles of wordless joy that we can nurture and tend to even when the days are at their darkest, helping them to thrive.
Enter Tink. Small god of pandemic pets.
Her role is a specialized one: she stands for the quarantine kittens and the pandemic puppies, the stay-at-home snakes and the furloughed fish. The pets people welcomed into their worlds when those worlds narrowed to what we’ve always offered to the majority of our companion animals. Their antics brightened our days, their plaintive cries for food reminded us to feed ourselves, and self-neglect is harder when there’s something counting on you.
And count on us they do. As restrictions loosen and the world begins to widen, bit by sometimes inadvisable bit, those pampered pandemic pets mirror the anxiety we felt when we were bringing them home: where are we going? Why are we leaving them? When will we be back? They don’t know how to live without us.
Our worlds have changed forever, but we are their worlds, and they were counting on us to stay the same.
Tink hears their cries, and she purrs for every one, tries to soothe and comfort them when their companion animals put on shoes and coats and leave them behind. She’s not as good at is as we are. She’s not the one they want.
But she’ll make sure they’re not alone.
• • • • •
Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world:
Without my very unexpected day after birthday gift of Lil Gator (a girl kitten my brother expected me to name “Beer” possibly “Guinness”, or Lil Shark as my mom called her because she had a very small kitten shark costume for awhile) I would have killed myself. I am, and have been, an essential worker the whole time, and while I have a new job (Director level now, not on purpose, my punishment for being competent and reliable, and I kinda hate it) she has been used to regular absences as long as I pick her up, talk with and pet her, and give her food and attention when I return home. I love my Lil Gator, even if I can’t find good small cat alligator costumes for her. She gives me a reason to laugh even when so many friends and family are dying around me.
So much love for Lil Gator!