The Ballad of Seamus and Janxy II: Breakups


Breaking up is hard. Probably more so in Cat World, where the bonds that tether cat lovers are so exceptionally strong. Seamus knew this, which is why he was so floored at the magnitude to which his cat heart was broken.

His friends tried to reassure him, offering advice on what he could do to ease his pain. Find an especially bouncy ball of yarn. Chase a laser point as it dances across a surface. Stay away from sad songs.

The problem is that all this advice rang hollow, as it is impossible for one cat who has experienced heartbreak to advise another, let alone for a cat whose heart is still intact. One never feels so little motivation for chasing mice than when occupying the depths of the Well of Heartache. And staying away from love songs is a falsity, so common an idea that it has proliferated well beyond its reasonable application, offered from someone who imagines what heartbreak would be like, but who has not experienced it. Love songs are the least of a shattered cats worries.

Try looking through a calendar, with dates like “tour the Cat World museum together” still occupying future panels. Or reaching into your cat wallet and accidentally pulling out a receipt of the hot dogs you bought together at the baseball game, which was the time of your life for every other reason than cat baseball. Or listening to old voicemails only to hear Janxy’s phantom voice, a welcome apparition reminding you of better times that now seem so distant and out of reach you can question whether they happened at all, or were just part of some unfairly joyous catnap dream.

No one told Seamus about that.

When the reality hit Seamus like a dog bite to the neck, the pieces of the life he thought was important, the menial points of contention that he fought so hard for, came crumbling down around him. What Seamus didn’t realize was that each of these bricks that he was building his life with — meaningless job, time for himself, focus on his future — were actually held in place with Janxy’s cement. Once that was gone, the rest soon followed.

Any decisions Seamus was making, he realized, hinged on her being a part of them. The void she left in his heart put things into almost immediate perspective.

What Seamus’ cat friends could have shared with him is that when breakups do occur, two options present themselves.

1. You accept and move on, because even though you may hurt, you know it’s for the best.

2. You fight and refuse to give up until you are forced, because it means so damn much to you that you don’t want to let go.

Seamus knew that his breakup, without a doubt, fell in the second category. The breakup was amiable and clean, and if he had wanted, he could have let go without much resistance. But when the pain was so great he felt like he could never purr again, and every thought and memory and distant connection made his fur stand on end, he knew he couldn’t give up.

So Seamus fought. He reconciled the issues he had with himself, and how he let the different locations of he and Janxy dictate the different wants, different needs, and different lives. Where he could have brought two together in cat harmony, he only contributed to the divide.

But Janxy, utterly and unwaveringly, had steeled herself to move on. She did what she had to do to stop the cycle of pain. She resolved herself because she had been experiencing too much pain for too long. Despite Seamus best efforts, it was too late. One month — even one week — ago, Seamus’ reformed sentiment would have done the trick and fixed everything. Now, like so many things in their relationship, it was too late.

Too late is a difficult concept to swallow in cat world, where even careless cats are granted at least nine of even the most severe mistakes. But the question now stood before Seamus: is she really ready to move on, or do you just need to work that much harder to show her you’re serious about being together? Together, Seamus and Janxy had come so far in such a short time, and overcome so much. Seamus was willing to shed anything necessary, including any sense of pride, to win Janxy back.

Maybe holding on will only make Seamus fall harder in the end, and the poor cat is setting himself up for an even more splintered heart. But just like in the real world, the future’s importance pales in comparison to the present’s. And right now, Seamus knows anything is worth the risk for just the smallest chance his efforts can win his love back.

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