Binx and the Jellyfish

Sometimes I just don’t know. 

My concrete beliefs and values, my moral compass and how I was raised; all that I know. Things start getting a little trickier when you bring fate and destiny into the equation. One Pinterest binge is all it takes to start thinking about how you’re going to start dancing in the rain and that life’s too short for your crappy job. And that stuff? I’m pretty reluctant to believe. Call me a realist, a pessimist, a Debbie Downer, but I think the “everything happens for a reason” line of thinking is just that: wishful thinking.

I don’t know for sure how I stumbled upon this book, probably while scrolling GoodReads or Instagram, but Lily and the Octopus came up on my radar. I saw the cover w/ a cute little dachshund and a thumbs up from a fellow book-loving friend and I put it on hold at the library. It came in almost immediately and I started reading it in bed last Friday night. Brent was next to me on his laptop and looked over when he noticed my heaving sobs and ugly crying.

Turns out, Lily and the Octopus, SPOILER ALERT, isn’t about a dog and her pal the octopus. It’s about a dog w/ a tumor, that the owner refuses to acknowledge as a tumor and refers to as the octopus. I’m not even spoiling anything, b/c you’re introduced to the octopus in the first chapter, when your dreams of a cute little story are dashed and the tears start and you know that nothing will ever be okay again.

Is this a fucking joke? Less than a month after my own baby is taken by cancer, by abnormal fluid filling his abdomen and making him look like he had his own creature dwelling w/in, I randomly find this book. After my first bout of tears, after Brent suggesting it was too soon for such a read, I had to agree. But I couldn’t put it down; I don’t mean that it was the most gripping plot I’ve ever run into, even though it was interesting and well written. I couldn’t put it down b/c I needed to know that I wasn’t the only one, that there were others out there this deeply affected by the loss of a pet, and reading this, while heartbreaking at times b/c it is SO SOON after Binxy, was also slightly therapeutic.

Although I was blindsided by the title giving nothing away, I loved how the narrator referred to the tumor as the octopus. I thought it was clever and original and just the right amount of delusional that I could get on board w/. When we first noticed Binx looking heavier in his belly, I knew, I just fucking knew something was terribly, horribly wrong. But we convinced ourselves he was putting on weight for the winter, was less active b/c of the shorter days, had some rare form of feline seasonal affective disorder.

Binx’s fight was w/ a jellyfish (original, I know). Another innocent sea creature that humans probably have no real reason to fear, but after Finding Nemo, I’m scarred for life. His abdomen was taken over by this evil creature, taking his appetite, his energy, and everything he was.

I don’t think fate intervened and planted this book on my social media feed. I don’t think this was the first book I was destined to read after losing Boopshu. I still roll my eyes at these corny clichés. But there’s no doubt this book was what I needed at a very low point in my life. I'd recommend it to fellow animal lovers or anyone looking to cry for 300 pages straight. 


Know what the jellyfish didn't take over? His ability to be such a cute little boopshu, his ability to have people smile the minute they saw him, his ability to still want to spend time with him. And his ability for us to still think about him everyday.