Monday, December 26, 2011

If Not For The Cat

Everyone needs love. This is indisputable. Whether one wants it or not, our hearts need nurturing and sustenance. No matter how long we deny it, or avoid it, we will die without it.

Today I spent much of the day in bed. It hasn't been a good holiday here at my father's but I do have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in and a little tiny bit of hope. I'm either depressed or anxious and panicky as I go through great changes in my life, not knowing what's around the corner, or who I can depend on.

It's raining and bitter cold and snow is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday so I will be trapped here in this house with an angry bitter father and an ailing bitter grandmother. No one wants to come here and see them because they reject the smallest bit of kindness and I threw a monkey wrench in their arrangement of mutual misery by moving in. I tread around both of them carefully or avoid them altogether because they fly back and forth between a rare show of support (here's $20 for gas to get to your brother's on Christmas Eve) or because their bitterness provokes them to lash out with no apparent reason, often only because I'm present (You wouldn't need the money if you hadn't left the man who provided for you and gave you a good home) but not just, as I can hear them alone from this room; they yell at the air and at each other and my father's cats who flee in here and pile up on the bed with me with what can only be described as confused terror. This is yet another personal hell.

Now I know Donny's anguish and deep loneliness and desperation for it to end. He told me, but I had to experience it for myself to fully appreciate such sorrow.

My cat is the one solace I can count on regularly that I can actually touch; All else is either supernatural (God) or digital (internet or telephone). I have little interest in TV and the comfort of music has at least for now been lost as I grieve over Spooky Oats. I tell myself I won't contact him again, but I know my heart will betray me. The loss of his friendship and love is no different to me than a death, only I catch a glimpse of the ghost if I look hard enough. I vow not to look. Some days, I'm successful. Other days, I get into a frenzy of panicked tears which ends with a sleeping pill and closing the door and pulling the blankets over my head. Again I betray myself by obsessive thinking, turning it over and over and over again. Why? Why? Why? But the ghost is silent. I don't understand. I still love the ghost. I still haunt the graveyard.

There is an atom of faith in some equilibrium in the universe that I will have closure but it's suffocated by everything else screaming for me to STOP JUST STOP JUST STOP AND LET IT GO AND HAVE SOME FUCKING SELF-RESPECT but as I told him, when it came to him, I had no dignity. It's true. I have none. Only shame. And confusion.

I have nowhere to go in this house. My father makes loud demanding noises in the kitchen as if to say, 'Come in here so I can punish you for my life' and the kitchen is not welcoming. It's very dark, cold, hard and drafty.  The living room is his domain and the TV the altar at which he worships. He occasionally calls me from my room when I'm home, to join him but I'm wary of him. His moods are mercurial and he is apt to begin shouting at the program or something he's dropped or me for asking or answering a question quickly aimed to begin a fight.

Then he plays the 'It's my house, my remote' game. I usually have no interest in the TV so if I join him I bring a book. He'll complain he's wasting electricity on me when I turn on the light to read. I usually don't stay long. He watches football all day long and during commercial plays the remote like a roulette wheel. He stops on something guaranteed to enrage him and I am to sit there and be the congregation for the eulogy of frustration and ire. He is inconsolable and any attempts to appease him angers him more and worse, he will turn on me and attack something, anything, about my person, my history, my thoughts and beliefs, and my endless failings.

If he finds nothing on TV to excite his wrath, he clicks through and watches me. Something may catch my ear or eye and the moment my head rises to look at the screen, he changes the channel triumphantly and says mockingly, 'Oh, were you interested in that?' I've been down this road many times before so I take that as my cue that my presence is no longer welcome. The fights are exhausting and overwhelming (and over nothing) -he creates chaos's almost a gift if it were an admirable trait. So I get up with my book and walk in here.

There is one pedestal lamp in my brother's room. There is room for nothing else. I've taken the dark shade off because the lamp is across the room and is the only illumination, and in fact, though poor, the best light in the house. I'm surrounded by my brother's belongings which no one will move since his death in March by accidently overdose. They all say 'too soon, too soon'...'everyone has died'.....I say...'but I'm still here..'  Aren't I? I'm fading but my heart is still beating because I feel it breaking.

I wonder if desperation can be accidental or deliberate. God I miss my brother. And my sister. And my mother. And my godmother. And Peachy.

My belongings consist of several bags of clothing, some nightstand and bathroom items and more bags and a laundry basket and books and cds on the bed. I keep a gratitude journal that I sit and look at and try, God I try. I keep another journal that's supposed to be focusing on myself but I keep talking to Spooky Oats in it and know that when it's full, I have to burn it because what if something happened to me and it was found among my things? It's just words. Just words. Meaningless. As time passes, would he even remember me?

Across from and next to me are dressers full of my dead brother's clothing that I'm not allowed to touch or move, nor do I want to. I don't want to get too comfortable. I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to be here, so I lay my scarf on the blanket thrown on one dresser, the blanket he died in, and I put my Christmas candle on the giant TV that doesn't work, nor do I want it to. I'm only sorry it partially blocks the morning sun from the window behind it and very sorry I can't find anyone who can carry it out of the house and my life forever.

Besides being a surface to put my candle it serves another redeeming purpose; my cat, my only consolation in this totally fucked and cursed life of mine, needs to step on it to get to the windowsill when she awakens; her one morning ritual.

She sleeps in an office chair across from me or at my feet and no matter how much time I spend in here, even when heartsick all day and night, refuses to leave except to relieve herself or have a drink of water, when I do. She follows silently behind me. My father often jeers at my 'loyal dog'. I recall my ex used to do the same thing. If I eat a piece of chicken or lamb, she will eat from my plate if she desires. She can have the last bite. That is her right. I freely give it. She is the child denied me. Her life is now more important than my own. .

From our first meeting when she could fit in the palm of my hand, she has put her wee paw on my leg, or arm or cheek while I cried brokenhearted and lonely, and stayed beside me. Even her sleeping form gives me peace. I believe in her more than I believe in God. At least she responds with love and touch. I say this with dread because God has taken away nearly everyone I love. He is indeed, a jealous god.

When I have to leave for the day, they tell me she panics or hides or sits in the window waiting for me and doesn't respond to them, not even for a treat. I left her only once when I needed to protect her from the monster I married and brought her here and it traumatized her. She wouldn't eat or drink  and thought I'd abandoned her. Until I was able to join her, I would visit weekly and plead with her to come out and eat, to forgive me, that we would be together soon, and I would go home and lock the bathroom door and sob. My father and grandmother demanded the details of what the monster did to me and I humiliated and humbled myself to have somewhere to go, to have somewhere for Wonton to go, for us to not be separated. They didn't approve, but they let me stay. They tried to make me stay with him. They yelled that I would lose the house, I would lose everything and so I have. I have lost it all, save my own life, my poor aging car, and my loyal Wonton. I had already wished myself dead and had disappointed everyone by cracking the beautiful veneer of my horrific marriage and breaking the heart of the prince I left.

I do have hope but right now, I exist and hang by a very thin thread. I do not belong anywhere. I do not have a home. If not for the cat, I am alone and belong to no one.

No comments:

Post a Comment