he had lived in the neighbourhood for quite some time already. when i first saw him, the missing ear was already an old, healed wound. he was always at it with "roundface", a large, dark, aggressive tabby, who disappeared after a while.
shortly thereafter, roughly 4 years ago, vincent settled in around the house. much growling and tussling resulted, but as it turned out, he was never the aggressor, despite being an adult tomcat. he was BFF's with bear, another feral tom, who was only with us a short time. i was joking that at least we didn't have to neuter him.
he was shy, and sweet, and when he finally let us touch him, he was so eager for being petted. soon he lived under the old table that sits under the paramour's window. for the last couple of years we made him a comfy bed under there since he wouldn't really stay inside even when it was crappy outside. saoba named him, a brilliant choice -- everybody always laughed at that.
not so long ago, he did decide to come inside. he wasn't fully house trained, and had the occasional accident, so we just placed more litter boxes around the house. he really liked to go into my room and sleep in the middle of my bed.
that's where he was last night. just skin and bones now, he didn't want to eat even the treats he used to go nuts over, and i knew it wouldn't be long anymore. he crawled up onto the pillow, against my head and for a little while, in the morning, laid on my ear and purred and drooled. he was kinda smelly, but i didn't care. a feral tomcat purred in my ear. i felt honoured. i have not done much with my life, but i made things a little better for the cats i've met who'd been cast aside.
some time today he passed. he had settled under the computer table between the paramour and my work stations, where we both sat; it's a low, small space with humming machinery around; perfect for a cat to curl up. i noticed he hadn't come out in a long time, not even to drink. i didn't want to look.
it's so hard to lose them.
may there be sunshine where he is now. he loved the sunlight like no other cat of ours. even in his last days, he'd slowly move outside and stay there while the sun was up.
i'm gonna miss him.