I have a story to tell.
I have a story to tell, but I am not going to tell it.
It is about a $10,000 cat.
She was just a barn cat. Old, arthritic and grouchy. She used to be a fluffy little cutie, who stole my heart, and caused debates about cat ownership through phone calls to far away places like India, from my humble little home, long ago (it seems), in Saskatchewan. She cuddled with me all the time I was temporarily disabled by a blown disk in my back and all the time I recovered from subsequent surgery. She never forgave me for having children, and she fought against their existence with every ounce of her kitty-being (my oldest has a scar on her lip to prove it). She purred, mewed, hissed and spat her way into, and sometimes out of, our hearts. This cat and I were parted (before she became a $10,000 cat) through the mutual looting and pillaging that is divorce. She lived to a chubby, cranky, well-loved and much-feared-by-children fifteen years of age.
It’s a pretty good story. It involves this cat, and a love story, and its tragic end, and a van. Pretty typical love story, really, except that there’s this cat, and $10,000, and a van. Oh, and a tragic end to a dream of a life together. So you see, mostly, this tale has the usual elements of a good story.
But I’m not going to tell it.
What happened to me?
I won’t tell you this story, because it will upset people. And I’m not supposed to upset people. This is what I have been told. I’ve been told, and I’ve been reprimanded (not that I generally pay much attention to that sort of thing). I have paid a price. People have told me “it’s good to vent,” as if that is the purpose of the things I write here. I don’t seek sympathy, or a pat on the head. I do love feedback, though. And if that’s what people take from the stories I tell, I guess that’s okay. People have told me “I shouldn’t talk about [insert your fear here].” It’s private, I’m told.
Normally, these sorts of reactions don’t bother me. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I have stopped taking advice from people who, although I may love and respect them, do not live the truth I want to live (they live their own truth, which is fine, and involves telling people like me what to do. God bless them).
For some reason, though, I’m taking a break, I guess, from saying what many won’t say. I’m resetting. I’m healing. I’m figuring out what to do next. It’s okay. I’ll be back, in some cheeky form or other. The Phoenix will rise again. But I’ll be made from the same ashes, you see, so it will just be a different version of what I was. In the meantime, however, no true stories about $10,000 cats, alive or dead.
I tell, you though, you’re missing out. You would like my $10,000 cat story. That is, as long as you aren’t one of the characters featured in its telling. If you are one of those people, I regret to say, I might have chosen to cast you as a villain, an antagonist. That’s just how stories go, though. Don’t take it personally, if you recognize yourself as a potential character. It’s just your role in the plot paradigm. I suppose you are something of a victim of literary convention. Yes. Let’s put it down to that.
I am rebuilding. It’s a slow, painful process. There are many bumps in the road. Many steps backward. That’s why I’m up at 3:04 AM telling you about a cat story I am not going to share.
On this blog, I used to say the things that people don’t say. There was generally nothing really exceptional in my choices of topic. I focus on the everyday things people experience. We generally don’t give voice to some of the darker, scarier (sometimes funnier), embarrassing things we feel or think as we journey through the mundane. These thoughts, though, that we usually dare not give form or voice, are the things that keep us up at night. They are the things we snarl at our beautiful children, the insults we hurl at our ex’s. Sometimes, they are the actual things we hurl at our loved ones. These experiences cause pain, so we choke them back. We give up our voice. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes, it’s not. How do we decide?
So, for a while, here, on my humble little blog, I used to say the things that people hold back. I know they do, because I’m old enough, and hopefully wise (?) enough to know that I’m not wholly unique.
Relax. My denying individualism in its extreme is just a realization that we are more alike than we think we are. That thought gives me great comfort. No. If I have thought of something, someone else probably has thought the same thing, in some way or other. The art is in giving our thoughts a voice that resonates with others.
I’m a writer. Writer’s write, as they say (although I suspect, sometimes, “they” don’t really mean it). So, in my case, that means I say the things that people don’t want to say. That way, if I speak those words, if I give you a glimpse into the shadows of my life, people can perceive the things they thought were secret, dangerous, meant to be hidden.
Something changed. I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s a phase. But I’m up, now, thinking about a cat (recently dead, in spite of a $10,000 vet bill), and how that cat connects to a love story, and a van. Oh, and a hefty repair bill (much, much less than $10,000), and a bailiff bill of double the repair bill, upon seizure of said van.
But I’m saying too much again. I’m slipping precariously into story telling, and I promised I wouldn’t.
I’m up thinking about these little networks of connections among the little mundane things in life. They can change our direction. They keep us up at night. And they can destroy bridges that are haltingly, carefully, delicately, even stealthily, being rebuilt.
I just think that it is terribly, terribly sad, that I will never tell you about the $10,000 cat, or the van, or how they connect, or what lies beneath. I will not tell you today, probably not tomorrow, or ever.
Right now, that seems, to me, like a terrible loss.
RIP Puddycat (2000 – 2015)