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Kindness Nouveau: Week 16: Blogging for survival.

I fought my way out of sleep this morning. Quite relieved to bring consciousness to bear on the hell of my dream world. It was some epic horror story. I was alone. The last person in the world. I refused to give up. So whatever or whomever was in charge of this universe had left me to it. So it was just me really. And my high moral ground.

I considered the meaning of this. Literally and metaphorically. It’s not like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and hear the eerie silence of no one at home. Then walk to the shop and find the door to the Coke fridge wide open, the cash register blinking and an untouched pile of Sunday Times. Then check my phone and find I’m the only person active on Facebook and no one in the world has tweeted for 12 hours. That is not actually going to happen. Sorry Hollywood. Metaphorically however, I could say, I’ve just been told.

Truth, Versions of the Truth and what I know to be true create a vortex that could flatten towns and leave small animals cowering under rubble. The theatre of life is all well and good. I’m happy to watch you all improvise and interpret. Stepping in and out of character, reediting past story lines, deconstructing narrative forms, creating new family trees and erasing current love interests. Just don’t mess with my bit of the story.

I’m rethinking my strategy for the 100 year war. I have made it to the halfway point. And held the line. However I’ve spotted a few advance scouts recently. Casting a curious eye over what is mine. Some of them have maps. Which they roll out. They look at the empty, unclaimed space and they mark an x on it. That’s ours for the taking they say. No one lives here.

Some of them just wander in. Accidently. Drifters. They pick some fruit and water their horses. They rest awhile. Some clean away their leavings. Some inscribe their names on the living walls of the space. And some take mementos. Others were abandoned here. And sought refuge. Making little spaces in the warm earth into which they curl themselves. Round and small.

I wait in silence for them all to leave.

The cat that isn’t mine, and the baby who can say my name, insistently pull at the ragged edges of my storyline. Reshaping the silence. And the metaphor becomes a living, breathing present. Redraw your territory, open your borders, cede your tyranny or have a baby and a cat take you prisoner.

Someone lives here. And she says ‘welcome’.

 

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The Alchemy of Goodbye: Week 12: Blogging for Survival.

It is early morning. I hear magpies. Calling the day into consciousness. Singing up the souls of the dead. Heralding yet another goodbye.

There is choreography to the pain. The busyness of packing luggage into the car, shuffling cases around, numerous trips into the house for forgotten dolls and shoes. Lengthening the moments, making small talk. There is a conversation about the planned route home and the likelihood of inclement weather, where we will stop for lunch and what time we might arrive. Then, we the children are delivered into the nauseating clutches of the family car, being told not to fight and to put our seatbelts on. Vainly attempting to draw our eyes away from our Mother. And her sadness.

The goodbyes of my childhood are infused with pathos. My Poppa, unable to find words, would cry each time he and my mother parted. My father, lying sobbing, on the body of our Labrador, dead from snake bite.  Jacky Utley. My childhood friend. Waving to me from her Dads’ station wagon. Heading to Canberra. Never to be seen again.  Myself at 15, leaving for a year abroad, with the youthful expectation of being able to return, in time, and pick up where I left off. And my first love. Each one, indelibly changing the structure of my memory.  

Today I’m on my way to the airport. My son is driving. And talking. A deeply understated human being, he uses words like semi precious stones. With care. I catch them. I hoard them. Greedily. My lucky charm for the days ahead. Future proofing my memory. With the chemical compound for goodbye.

In the lead up to my departure I listen for the words that signify the start of the sequence. They come. They are cast toward my retreating self. An amalgam of End Game statements and opening gambits. You are leaving again. This makes me feel alone.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel anxious.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel excited.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel your absence. 

The alchemy of all these goodbyes has distilled the raw elements into a powerful elixir. One that frames the present, capturing the beauty of those I love, urging me to love them more, in this moment, than ever before. The baby learns to say my name and the cat that isn’t mine decides to sleep on my bed. These little faces are unbearably soulful. And maybe they always are. It’s just today I am saying goodbye. Again.

The awareness of how much it all matters makes me wonder if I am the subject of a bad chemistry experiment by fourth grade extra terrestrials. There is an entire living planet in the throes of death and rebirth. Hellos and goodbyes. Now and forevers. For all that, I might as well be a brand new species. From the unbearable pathos genus. With no collective noun. Because it consists of only me. Racing toward extinction anytime soon.

To each goodbye I say, ‘that hurts’. ‘Damn that hurts’.

 And so, like the experiment I am, I yield at the thought of a scientific breakthrough. For if I discover the formula for unbearable pathos, I will market it to airports to put alongside the Chanel and Dior. ‘Unbearable pathos – Enhancing your preflight emotional overload with flashbacks to your childhood. Bonus scenes of you crying in a range of exotic locations’.     

In honour of the Alchemists of old, I board my plane.

I’m heading towards goodbye.

 

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