Friday, November 06, 2015

Down One

In the past two and a half weeks, my dog has taken to the habit of sitting immediately behind where I'm standing and leaning into the back of my legs. He didn't used to do this, but now, whenever I'm standing and static, he makes sure to have physical contact with me. My cat, always a fan of of the crook of my arm at bedtime but less likely to choose to cuddle at other times, has recently spent more time in my lap than in years. In fact, nowadays, whenever I sit down, there is dog curled up against me on one side and a cat draped across my lap. They are creatures of deep empathy for whom I'm so thankful.

Because, two and a half weeks ago, the small two-person, two-animal family became no longer when one of the persons decided to leave it. Now it's a tribe of three: a dog, a cat, and me.

My people have been wonderful supports. But, when each day ends, it's just the tribe of three again, and for the millionth time in my life I'm glad I'm an animal person. Upon waking up one recent morning after sleeping on my side with my cat snoring gently against my spine, I remembered a brief passage in C.S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, one of the Chronicles of Narnia, a children's series I have read probably twenty times in my life. Here, the main character Shasta is terrified, stranded alone in a graveyard outside the city gates at night, without his (talking) horse and other companions, and something has just startled him by touching his leg.

He looked round; and his heart almost burst with relief. What had touched him was only a cat. 
The light was too bad now for Shasta to see much of the cat except that it was big and very solemn. It looked as if it might have lived for long, long years among the Tombs, alone. Its eyes made you think it knew secrets it would not tell. 
"Puss, puss," said Shasta. "I suppose you're not a talking cat." 
The cat only stared at him harder than ever. Then it started walking away, and of course Shasta followed it. It led him right though the Tombs and out on the desert side of them. There it sat down bolt upright with its tail curled around its feet and its face set towards the desert and towards Narnia and the North, as still as if it were watching for some enemy. Shasta lay down beside it with his back against the cat and his face towards the Tombs, because if one is nervous there's nothing like having your face towards danger and having something warm and solid at your back. The sand wouldn't have seemed very comfortable to you, but Shasta had been sleeping on the ground for weeks and hardly noticed it. Very soon he fell asleep.


Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

So sorry, Christina. Hope you're doing as well as you can be at a time like this. It will get better.

Nora said...

Well, you've reduced me tears. Not something new, because your writing is often so beautiful it moves me. This time though, the tears a sad and salty. I want to encompass you in a huge hug and feed you a super Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps you were too wonderful for him. Such things can happen. Two people live together and one can be such a bright shining light that the other feels eclipsed, and in shadows. You are facing some dark days, but keep shining, Christina. Because that's what you do, and that's who you are.
Much love,

Michelle said...

Unbelievable, he drags you away from everything and everyone you love to an alien place and then he dumps you. I'm so sorry. It's remarkable how our critters step up to the plate when we need them but I hope you've got a human friend to give you hugs and a shoulder to cry on when you need it. I'm sending you a virtual hug and am wishing I could give you a real one. I know you will find your way through this terrible time to a better place.

Christina said...

Friends: Thank you for your kind words. They mean so much to me. I know I'm going to be okay, partly because I have such inspiring people in my life.

dcr said...

I have been thinking of you lately, largely because my fig tree is thriving! Thank you for being so very giving and encouraging. I know that karma will reward your remarkable generosity. I hope you can be happy every day!

Elizabeth Chase said...

Some things...? Are almost impossible to believe. Thinking of you, praying for you, and here for you. No matter what.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, and continue to do amazingly beautiful things!