There has been so much of it lately. And while this started as a ‘preparing for baby’ blog, it’s also about life and how it unfolds. We just got back from an incredible trip to Portugal, where we soaked up and wrung out every drop of life we could squeeze from 15 days abroad. For more on that, you can check out my blog stylesavie.comstylesavie.com, where I’m charting the fashion, food and fun of life. It’s more public and though it includes some politics, particularly of the social justice and queer variety, it’s the fluffier side of writing, and it captures my life in images, more so than in text.
Here, I am more likely to unburden myself of the things that feel raw and unattractive; thank you for being a place where that seems possible, for supporting that need to unpack the things that can’t stay too long in the body.
While travel was beautiful and brimming, we also spent our days of fun and love traversing a terrain scorched by forest fires. There were places where the ground alongside the highway was black and still smouldering; the sky full of haze; the treese bare and black up to their necks, still hopeful and green at their peak. At intervals, we would see billowing smoke in the distance; sometimes there were patches of charred ground with rivulets of white curling up from cracks in the still-burning soil. It was ghostly and sad to see a place where we passed, untouched, while all this natural life, and the lives of those who live on the land were being threatened, as they watched – near by helpless.
There were moments when we raised a glass to the firefighters working tirelessly to combat the flames against all odds. There were nights where we danced in gay discotheques, in sweaty protest against the vicious shit being leveled at queer citizens in countries far from here. There are moments when I buckle my resolve tight around me because I know I am sheltered, but not immune to the venom that gets spat at women, interracial relationships, queerness, speaking your mind and that humanity can be very ugly. especially when you are caught off guard.
But I don’t want to live like that. I am a realist; mind racing always to consider the intellectual, reasoned response, fighting to head-off my other side, the one of pure emotion and instinct. I am the toughest bleeding heart I know. But away from people I fall apart sometimes.
When we got back from our travels, I anxiously went to pick up our cats from my parents’ place; alive, but not well. One of our little creatures has been with me for 14 years, but still retains a kittenish, floppy, affectionate nature that makes everyone fall in love with him. He is dog-like in his need to be right next to you, to greet you at the door and to need your touch at all times; he is catlike in his languid, stretching in the sun, all-up-in-your-everything personality; we find him in the linen cupboard, he likes to burrow into the clean laundry, to pull himself on his back along the underside of the couch by his paws. He is so trusting and purrs at the drop of a hat. or a show, or simply because he caught you looking at him.
So finding out that he has Horners, which we’d been treating, and that now it looks like he might have something seriously wrong, neurologically, is breaking my heart. Before we left, his eye was squinting and his one ear turned down; no pain, the vet said, keep watching. Now he is clumsy, has fallen over, seems confused and still wants desperately to be close to us, but can’t make it to the couch or to the bed without slipping.
Our other cat is a one-person cat. She is sweet as pie, but only to me, and sometimes to my wife. She hasn’t been being nice to him, which is not a change, but that breaks my heart, too. I wonder if he knows that he is dying. I can’t stop thinking about him being sick, because I look at him and I can see it, literally, in his eyes.
I’m home with him. Off until September, when the school year starts again. Putting away laundry, watching him always, I see him amble over. He stumbles a little. I dissolve into a pile, with the laundry, pulling him into my lap –
where he is happiest. Listening to music and crying big fat tears, while he is oblivious. Comforting me without knowing it, but also reminding me how lucky I have been to have this lump of love in my life for so long,
lump – in my throat now – because I can’t imagine only weeks or months with him.