Monday, November 15, 2010

The Day in Front of Us

“Our strength is often composed of the weakness we're damned if we're going to show”
– Mignon McLaughlin


I feel her small body weighing down the cat carrier and a single tear wets my eyelashes. My gut instinct is to open the door and set her free. Instead I reach fingers through the mesh lattice, greeted by whiskers across skin and the sandpaper wetness of tongue licking finger tips. My heart sits in my throat suffocating.

Three months, why couldn’t she understand such a small feat? All she needed to do was settle down and allow herself to fit in, belong for a time. Incomprehensible hatred boils to the surface. How dare she make me an insignificant and unworthy part of her life? The tears come unbidden and I’m ashamed at this emotional outburst. This was never about me.

Then again, I made this about me refusing to see the warning signs: A mind unhinged – from one extreme to another, tinged with sharp hostility, swayed to an impassionate demand for attention in the next heartbeat. Nutmeg’s cruel, greedy possessiveness pushed all away, so none may enter her world – the imbalance to her wanton attention seeking; the merry-go-round encapsulating my summer and providing this moment of introspective abuse.

Standing on the porch a chill permeates the morning: The kind of cold that seeps deep and hardens sore muscles and awakens evening’s longing for warmth in the dusty hues of sundown and sets the night’s hoarfrost glinting in indigo darkness. It’s the last kiss of autumn and promise of snow in the wintry wind across the horizon. The kind of cold warning – time had gotten away from me and I failed this small creature encased in the cat carrier.

She can’t be an inside cat, nor outside for that matter, acting like a dog on attack guard whenever another warm body should approach. I hate again, not her, rather the ignorant excuses of humanity responsible for abandoning her. For there is where it must have began, this unhinging of a mind, this need to possess an enclosed porch where she guarded food and refuge alike from all but her.

With winter approaching, there will be others seeking nourishment and warmth. What cost one soul, for many? Damn the decision, damn the heart that beats in me, and damn the mind which acknowledges I’m making the right decision.

Three days ago I turned Nutmeg over to a shelter we work with. I don’t know anything from the moment she left my home. Somewhere inside of me, I want…I need to be disillusioned and believe someone will notice her wild, mischievous spirit and take her home to a quiet existence of solitary, undivided love. Either way, I don’t want to know. I don’t think my heart can take knowing.

Yesterday, the porch was filled with three warm bodies, happy for the attention, seeking sustenance and shelter against the bitter wind and hard ground. Today, I caught sight of dirty white fur peeking through the trees. More will come, but I’ll forever question this simmering hatred brewed beneath the exterior of my heart and wonder how long before I harden.

Life is a mixture of hope and disbelief, compassion and anger, compromise and willful stubbornness. Without guarantees we blunder our way forward and question our very existence. Every once in a while we get a glimpse, a sampling of a sure thing and hold on for dear life. My writing is that for me, without which I wouldn’t be able to immortalize a cat named Nutmeg. At least as a writer I can write my emotions into words.

I don’t have all the answers, nobody does. I can keep learning and trying till I’m almost there, close to perfect – nothing is ever perfect. So take the day, the task in front of you and find the heart of it. Therein lays the beauty of a life…yours and mine.

[For Nutmeg’s original introduction into my life, go here --> Hysteria .]

Picture from here