Waiting for Cleo on a Hot Summer Day
by Rev. Wendy Christine Allen aka EelKat
Journal entry(s) for June 20, 2012
Third entry of the day, it’s too hot to do anything else. The sun has gone behind the swamp, but it did not take the heat with it. The motorhome is only 20 degrees cooler inside than outside, that means it’s 82F inside No Hurry right now! This is the first time the inside temps have gone over 70F. She has an air conditioner, but no generator, so no way to cool down the inside. I guess that is what must go #1 on my to-do list: get a generator. Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot! They say tomorrow will be more of the same. So far we have not needed a generator, not even last February when temps got to -20F. It never got below 35F inside No Hurry and me and the cats were quite comfortable in our sub zero sleeping bag. With 15 cats sleeping on me, I almost don’t need the sleeping bag.
Right now I am sitting on the bridge soaking my soaking my feet in the brook. Bachelder Brook. It’s fed by a spring somewhere in Saco, comes here to Old Orchard, runs through our yard, and dumps out into the Atlantic. My head is boiling, sweat pouring down my face, but my feet are freezing cold and feel like they are packed with ice. The water is so nice and cold.
I’m waiting for Cleo. Writing while I wait. She’s hiding under the bushes, just out of reach. Cleo is a tiny grey tiger cat, with a white stripe on her nose and a white hind leg. In the past 40 years I have had 84 cats, for several years running a shelter out of my house. I rescue feral cats, usually older cats, too old or too blind to fight nature anymore, they take to looking to humans for food, and eventually allow themselves to get captured and brought home. Catch them, take them to the vet, get their shots and spayed and neutered, then bring them home and take care of them. They are not “pet cats”, not strays, but true wild cats, who have lived for generations among bobcats. Old Orchard Beach has a huge feral cat population roam through the Ross Forest, dangerous to people and pets, they will attack, and they will kill. These cats are not domestic. They will kill domestic cats and small dogs, given the chance. The feral cats of Old Orchard are used to me, though, I’m the only human they ever see, and me roaming these old growth pine forest and swamps day and night, I come a go among the wildcats most of their lives. By the time they are old, they are used to seeing me, and knowing they can no longer survive on their own, slowly come closer each day, eventually letting me take them home. Cleo was one of these feral cats. She has lived with me for 3 years, but now she has escaped.
Cleo is a strange one, for Cleo is not old. She came to me young, barely more than a kitten herself. A small tiny cat, known by cat breeders as “a munchkin”, a growth defect, same as dwarfism in humans, weighing only 2lbs, Cleo was the runt of her litter, and would never be larger than a kitten. With feral cats, the munchkins never survive, most never reach adulthood. Cleo’s mother was killed by a coyote, when Cleo was about 6 months old. The other kits died soon after, leaving little miniature Cleo defenceless and alone. Kittens I do not often have, as feral mother cats will attack humans and defend kits fiercely. Though still a kitten Cleo had been taught well by her mother, and her capture was impossible. Tiny, outcast by the other ferals, terrified and alone, she became one of the fiercest ferals I had ever seen in these woods. She proved herself a survivor in spite of the odds stacked high against her.
Three winters ago, a blizzard struck, and as I always do, the door of the shed at the side of the barn is left open, with plates of catfood and bales of hay laid out for the herd of ferals. Some come in, most do not, all run out if I enter. Old ones and mothers with kittens stay the night, a few spend the entire winter and leave with the snow. Cleo was one who stayed the winter, bringing with her, an even smaller munchkin, whom I called Little Pip. Pip was not well, near death. Pip’s survival depended on her capture, and my need to get very close to the fiercest feral of all. I waited til Cleo was asleep, to pick up the nearly dead kitten, the result was Cleo’s sharp fangs tearing through my fingers. With a hot water bottle and kitten formula Pip was brought back to health, and developed an attachment to me, which would result in a change in Cleo. Though free to do so, Pip, my constant companion, never returned to the wild with the feral cats, and Cleo was now ever hovering just around every corner, never far behind me, never letting her kit out of her sight. Pip had two mothers, me and Cleo, and Cleo was forced to stay close to humans to stay with her kitten.
A year ago, another winter, saw this same feral cat have kittens in the cold of early spring. Winter had not yet left, an ice storm had shattered the landscape, and she knew her kits would not survive the harsh weather, and so, much to my surprise, she moved in on her own dropping the tiny only hours old kittens, literally in my lap. Though she remained fierce and feral, never letting me touch her, she let me hold her kittens who grew up to be tame and playful cats. Today, her and her 3 kittens have moved into the motorhome and she treats me as one of her family, being as tame as a house cat around me, however, still as still as fierce as a mountain lion to any other human. It is fascinating watching this cat and her kittens as they grow.
I moved No Hurry today. Backed it up into the trees so we’d have more shade and less heat. Pip is a motorhome cat. She grew up here. This is her home. She loves it. Pip loves it when the motorhome is moving. Sits up on the dash and purrs loudly watches the sights out the window. Blackie and Sprout, not yet a year old, love it as well. Most of the other cats run to the back and hide in the bathroom, when we are moving, but some lay on the bed oblivious to the whole event. Emily sits in the overcab, hiding behind the curtain, and peaking out at the things moving below. A few pile in the corner, against the back door, terrified. Cleo. Kewpie. Dog. Fizzgig. Everything terrifies them. They are rarely seen, living in dark corners and under the bed. No sounds, no people, no moving. They come out. The slightest sound sends them running. It’s the sound of the motor that scares them when we move.
We moved barely 9 feet today. Not usually a problem. Backed into a tree. New thing to add to my motorhome to-do list: put bigger mirrors on No Hurry. The better to see you my dear. No damage done, I was only going about 5MPH, but the noise, the sound of the white metal against the cherry tree, vibrated through our big tin can of a home. It was the branches scratching the roof that caused most of the problem, scraping across the top like cat claws on a chalkboard, and echoing down through the vents, sending shivers up the furry little spines of 15 formerly feral cats.
We parked. We leveled up again. The cats came out of hiding. Plopped back into their sunny spots, purring and washing paws. I locked up the front doors, went around to the back, opened the door, and out dropped Cleo, who had been sitting, back pressed to the door, too terrified to move. She was too scared to land feet first, and just flopped out back first.
And so, out goes Cleo, out the back door, through the hip tall grass, over the hill, down the other side, through the blackberry hedgerow, into the tall rows of jewelweed at the edge of the brook, stopping under the giant thirteen foot tall, impenetrable, wild thorny roses that spread eight feet to all sides. Thorns and brambles galor and no way to reach Cleo. She’ll come back. She always does. But she will not be caught. There is no catching this cat, at least not without losing a finger or three. And so I must sit and wait. I set out a can of catfood and a pot of catnip near the edge and went to the swamp to sit on the bridge and cool my feet in hopes of reducing my chances of fainting from the heat. This I write, while I wait.
I can not take the heat in the slightest. Anything over 60F is unbearable to me. I start having dizzy spells around 70F and blackouts if it reaches 100F. It’s not far from 100F today. How do people in hotter regions stand it? I need to move North. Quebec? Alaska? Someplace colder. With nice long winters. I am am a Fall and Winter person. I do not like Summers. The water feels wonderful, the mosquitoes are torture, and I must move or be eaten alive.
I have moved from my spot on the bridge. I forgot my water bottle and left it in the sun. Now my water is hot and I’ve nothing left to drink. I buried (the bottle) in the sand beneath the brook. After 10 minutes or so it should be cooled back down enough to drink. An hour or more and it’ll be as cold as if I just took it out of the freezer.
One probably wonders why I bother with this method. Why not just drink the nice cool water from the brook? One can not drink the brook water of Bachelder Brook, for it is brackish, coming into our yard straight from the quick sand laden peat bog marsh, which I refer to simple as “the swamp”; the swamp is gaseous and a natural methane “swamp gas” oil glazes it, making it undrinkable; a lesson I learned the hard way a few years ago, when I was living in the tent, the result was I required many thousand of dollars in repairs to my barely corroded gums and teeth - and today as a result my nice pearly whites are shiny glazed porcelain false teeth - only one of the many ways in which my 6 years of homelessness was detrimental to my health. Beautiful water, cool to swim in, pleasant to look at, but not fit to drink. Learn from my lesson and don’t drink from a brook, feed by a swamp. I never used to drink bottled water. Tap or well was fine for me. Eight months of three agonisingly painful visits a week to the dentist, for teeth pulled, gums scoured, and many, many root channel, then fake teeth cemented in permanent drilled into your jaw and gums, is not a fun way to spend your year. Believe me. I know. You don’t want to do it. That was how I spent the year of 2008 and why I developed and obsessive habit of drinking only bottled water ever since.
Waiting for my water to cool off. Waiting for the heat wave to end. Waiting for Cleo to come back. I am now sitting on the swing seat behind No Hurry, next to the cherry trees. Grape vines grow up and over the seat making a nice dense canopy of shade. It brings back memories of headed out deep into the woods to pick wild grapes. I used to hop on my ATV and ride out there. It was maybe a mile or two behind the swamp, behind our land. Years ago, in the 1700’s it had been a farm, but the buildings are long gone, and all that was left was these long tall hedges made of juniper long ago gone wild, at the end of which grew ancient gnarled apple trees (the very orchard that gives Old Orchard Beach its name) and the trees overgrown with a giant tangled mass of concord grapes also gone wild. I brought these grapes back from there. I planted them, so 20 odd years ago, and they have since grown wild. Unfortunately the mosquitoes are as bad here as they were at the bridge.
I am surrounded by flowers in bloom: buttercups, wood buttercups, wild roses, tiny grape blossom clusters. It is beautiful, but again I find I must move, for my arm is black from a cluster of mosquitoes, all landed at once. They are worse here then by the brook.
Back in No Hurry now. I wonder if there is such a thing as a battery operated fan? I’ll add that to my list of things to do.
Walks on the beach. Thinking about long peaceful walks on the beach. This is not the time of the year for that, unfortunately. I can’t understand the tourists. Every year 2million people gather on our beach and lay bumper to bumper blistering and burning in the sun. Summer is the worst time of the year to be on the beach. The heat is terrible, the sun is high and blinding white. I can barely go outside as it is, let alone go on the beach this time of year! September and October are the best times to be on the beach, when the temps are cooler and the winds have returned, the waves are higher, the sun spends more time hiding behind the clouds and is lower in the sky, not nearly as hot or as bright.
Personally, my favorite time to walk on the beach is during a hurricane. I love hurricanes. There is nothing more exhilarating then standing on a rocky crag, waves crashing around you, and 70MPH winds whipping through your hair. Not many people down there then! Just you, a few surfers, and police standing on the boardwalk holding body bags. I always find that hilarious. Like they are threatening us. They tell us “no lifeguards on duty, the town is mostly evacuated, we’ll just stand here with our body bags.” What good does it do really? Anything? Maybe they do scare a few people off the beach that way. Who knows?
Better then a hurricane on the beach, is a blizzard. Unfortunately by February the winds have reached 80MPH and in -40F weather those 10MPH make a big difference. The beach is frozen over, the slick glaze of ice several inches thick coating the sand makes it near impossible to walk, large chunks of ice floating off shore, even the salt can’t keep the water from freezing in February, though these past couple of years our winters have been oddly warmer, the water freezes less and less, the water round the Pier hasn’t gone solid since the 1970s and the last iceberg sighting was in the 1960s. Even still, it’s difficult to aquajog on the beach in February. I have done it, I do it year round, but I’m used to the cold, I thrive in the cold, heat is my enemy, most folks prefer the heat and can’t take the cold, so I don’t recomend beach jogging for most folks. Of course in the summer, aquajogging, jogging waist deep in the ocean at the shifting of the tides, might be a thing to try. Best done in calmer seas. Nice cool ocean. I love the ocean.
Thinking cold thoughts doesn’t make me any cooler. Still no sign of Cleo. Last time she did this, she waited til dark to come back. I think I will go check on my water.
Back in No Hurry again. Just got my water bottle out of the brook. Nice and ice cold again. Still waiting for Cleo. I’m supposed to be doing my math homework, which is due tomorrow, this being Wednesday, but I left my books at my dad’s apartment in Biddeford and the only school book I have with me is this journal and the German textbook. I already finished my German homework, and two entries for today in this journal; I only needed one, but what else can I do? I planned to spend the day doing homework, but left my books behind, and can not leave to get them until Cleo returns, due to the fact the coyotes were here in the yard this morning. I don’t worry about the bear, they don’t bother the cats, they just eat the berries off the bushes and leave. The coyotes will eat the cats though, and one was right here in the driveway this morning so the pack is not far off. The only homework I can do without my textbooks is journal writing, so here I am again, writing while I wait for Cleo. I suppose it is a good thing I did not forget this book as well.
I am laying on the bed, writing, upside down. Good thing I have a pencil, not a pen. The ink would have run to the wrong end by now. George is sitting in the doorway yowling. He is calling out for Cleo and she is answering him. I can hear her, but I can not see her. These bushes are so dense and thick, can’t see a thing through them. I hear a Pileated Woodpecker, across the street. I think I should head back to the Volvo and check the time. I’ve no watch and the clock in No Hurry is broken. I wonder if the Volvo will run long enough to get me down to pick up my brother? I had trouble with it today. It does not like the heat any more then I do. Having trouble getting it started, once started keeping it running. Something is wrong with the fan. The fan is not coming on, and it’s overheating. Had a horrible time getting home from school today. Stalled at every red light, overheated on every road under 35. I had to keep pulling off the road and wait for the engine to cool down, all the way home. I hate the heat and my car agrees.
It’s 7PM. I’ve been waiting for Cleo 6 hours now. I have to leave in an hour. I’m back in No Hurry, sitting on the bed to write this. The cats say it’s time for bed. They are getting into their places. Rascal’s asleep on the stove. Kewpie’s asleep in the sink. Mittens and Pip are on the sofa. Sprout, George, Emily, and KitKat are stretched out on the floor . . . and Cleo is in the doorway climbing up the screen trying to come in.
I opened the screen to let her come back in, but she’s off again, hiding in the bushed once again. Closer this time. She is in the grapes now. Waiting. Watching. Staring at the door. She wants to come back. It’ll be dark soon. The coyotes and cougars will be out soon. Cleo won’t stay out when they are on the prowl. She knows it’s not safe outside of the motorhome at night. She’ll be in soon. For now we both sit and wait. I watching her, she watching me. There is no catching this cat, she must come back on her own.
I hope Cleo comes back while it is still light enough to see. The sun is setting and I’ve no lights. No electricity. No generator. I hate locking up, going to bed, and leaving her out alone like this. Twilight is the worst time of the day. It is when the predators are most active. Coyotes, wolves, cougar, bear, fishers, fox, and coon all come out this time of night.
We are running low on water. I’m down to 4oz of drinking water for me and 2gals of drinking water for the cats. That water got hot too. I put the pails under the sand under the water of the brook before I left. We’ll have to refill tonight.
Total dry camping. Nothing in the tanks. Toilet, shower, and sinks are not hooked up. White water, grey water, black water tanks all empty. I’ve never used them, not sure I’d even know how. Still new to this whole RVing thing.
There’s a dump station in Scarborough, I suppose I should have the tanks flushed and filled at some point. It’s not high on my list of things to do. I’ve lived without running water 6 years and I’m not highly inclined to going back to that sort of lifestyle anyways. Strange 6 years ago I couldn’t imagine living without a house and now the thought of living in a house makes my skin crawl. I am becoming like Cleo. Wild and feral. The motorhome feels comfortable. Safe. A roof over my head. A dry place to sleep (provided I remember to shut the overhead vents before a thunderstorm! My nice thick - new because I replaced the original - shag carpets, sofa cushions, pillows, and blankets are hanging sopping wet from tree branches, drying in the sun. At least this heat is doing something good. Oh well. Live and learn. Been flooded by 3 storms so far this summer. Eventually I’ll remember to close the vents. Must hang a post it note on the doors, walls, and ceiling: “Note to self: Close vents when it rains.”)
We are inside, yet outside. Two big picture windows, 5 smaller windows, and 3 skylights, we have an all round view of every sunrise and sunset and can lay in bed and watch the stars at night, or the raindrops in my eye, as the case may be. Must remember to close the skylights before it rains too. And the picture windows too. Outside comes inside a lot in a motorhome. I like that.
We are inside, yet outside. Green on all sides. Trees. Branches. Hedges. Grass. Bamboo. We are completely closed in by greenery on all sides. There is only room enough to walk round the edge of No Hurry. Completely enclose. Safe. Protected. I love the bamboo. Tall and graceful. They’ve grown up all around us. Like creepy ivy they wrap their arms up the sides and across the roof of No Hurry. Neighbors complain. They don’t like my big lime green house. My beautiful No Hurry. They say it is not safe to live in a great big tin can. Was it safer to live under a tarp, being harassed by coyotes and fisher, having to sleep with a harpoon and machette at my side to keep from being eaten during the night? I have slept in this spot for 6 years unprotected from wind, rain, snow, and predator. They complained about that too. “I’m doing the best that I can with what I have, thank you very much, I don’t see you getting off your asses to help. If you are not gonna help, then shut the hell up and get out of my way. Perhaps I should cut your tongue out, and then we’ll all get more work done.”
With that they run away, Argh! It’s The Sea Witch! Look she really does have a machete, run before she chops off our heads! They keep far away now, from the crazy woman with the harpoon in one hand, machete in the other. Others come to see if I really have a Machete. “Yes, I do, here, why don’t you come closer, so I can sharpen it on your neck?” I love scaring the tourists. It is so much fun. I suppose every town has to have its “local witch”, and around here I’m it. Gives folks something to talk about at least.
Complain all they will, it’s no matter to me. No longer homeless, I now have 4 walls, a roof, and floor. Warm. Dry. Safe. Two big picture windows, 5 smaller windows, and 3 skylights, we have an all round view of every sunrise and sunset and can lay in bed and watch the stars at night, or the raindrops in my eye, as the case may be. Must remember to close the skylights before it rains too. And the picture windows too. Outside comes inside a lot in a motorhome. I like that.
But she’s too small, they say. You need more room. More space for stuff. You need a real house. How can you stand it? Too small? Too small! Sugardoll, your house is far too big! What need have I for a house too big to heat? Even when I had a house, a tiny 16’x9’ beach cabin, which was actually smaller and had less room then No Hurry, I was rarely ever in it. After being homeless, I tried living in an apartment. Felt like a cage. Made me feel trapped. Abandoned. Separated. Roped. Caged. The tent was preferable to the city. I need the sound of my ocean at night. Soft gentle laps against the sand. Booming, foaming crash against the rocks. The chipering, chattering crickets. The gulls. The thick rolling fog. Glorious. Beautiful. Salty. Musty. Craby. Heady fragrance of fresh churns rockweed. Salt in the air. Salt in the breeze. Salt on my skin. Sand in my hair. Sand in my toes. The rocking. The swaying. The blues and the greens. All my mind can think while in a house, is: Run! Flee! Escape! Must escape. Must get away. Flee, flee, back to the sea! When I am in a house, I feel like a bird, with the need to beat my wings on the glass and break free, to soar once again in the wild open breeze. Like a seagull in a cage, tearing at the bars desperate to be free, pining away separated from my ocean. I can not bear to be indoors, with the clean crisp walls, suffocating and smothering me. Outside is glorious. Inside is hell. Maybe I always felt this way.
I’ve only been around humans these past 6 years. The 30 years prior my companions were 500 hens, 200 roosters, a few dogs, and an ever growing army of wild feral cats. I lived in silence. I spoke to the animals in their language. To humans I did not speak, if I had humans to talk to at all, which was rare, I only saw people on Sundays, only in church. I spoke through pen and paper not through spoken word. Autism makes me strange I suppose. People tell me I am strange. I don’t know. I was branded as insane by family and their friends, their church friends, by the time I was 4 years old. Ignored. Shunned. “Don’t talk to her, she’s too crazy to understand you,” they said. There were no non-church friends.
I have had a hard time adjusting to college. I am not integrating into society well. I’ve never been round non-Mormons before. People outside the church are strange. Otherworldly. Alien. Like creatures from another planet. Much of people’s words I do not understand. Many things people do, baffle me. I find the world outside confusing, overwhelming. The cats I understand. The beach I understand. The ocean I understand. The trees I understand. The swamp I understand. The deer, the moose, the birds, the bobcat, the bear, the cougar, the coon, the coyote, the frog, the eel, these I understand. I do not understand humans. I find their ways confusing and strange. I am one of them and yet I am nothing like them. Sometimes I wonder, if I will be able to tolerate these strange beasts long enough to graduate from college.
Some days I just want to flee the college, run back to No Hurry, pack up the cats, and drive away forever. The Yukon calls to me. The Klondike. Alaska. Northern Quebec. Lapland, Greenland. Lands of lots of snow and few people with many miles of trees between.
I say this to people and they act dramatically shocked, visibly stunned. I do not understand their surprise. They gaspe as though someone had stabbed them, jaw dropped, eyes bulging, and spotter as they ask: How can you live without electricity or water or phone? This is normal for me. This is not something that came about after the flood. It is not a result of being homeless. I fail to understand city folks. They are a confusing lot. I guess most people have those things. Not sure. I don’t exactly know many people, not many people round here to know; only folks I know are just folks I’ve meet the past few years in college, and I don’t really know any of them. Never see any of them outside of class. I grew up in a beach cabin in Old Orchard, where storms are weekly, and CMP only makes sure the power is on June, July, and August. When the tourists are gone, to hell with the residents, they are only the band of ragged Gypsies who run the summer rides anyways. When a storm takes down a power line in offseason Old Orchard, you could wait days, weeks, or months before CMP decided to mosey on out our way and get electricity on again. We used an outhouse more than a flushing toilet, as do most of the year round folks here. What use is a toilet at high tide when you are 20 feet below sea level? All it does is send poopy salt water up on the ceiling when you try to flush it. Phones? Are you kidding? They only just started bring phone lines into town in the 1980s! Heck, we didn’t even have tarred roads in Old Orchard back then! We just got our first yellow lines on a tarred road in 2010 for crying out loud! You couldn’t even get reliable cell phone service here in 2010! You act like living without electricity, toilets, and phones is strange, but heck, that the way life is when you live in a town like this. The condominiums put those things in for the crybaby tourists, but us year round folk don’t have them. *sheesh*
I’m back. Now to get back to finding Cleo. Cleo was just here at the door waiting to come in. She is now under the motorhome just out of reach. It is dark. She is scared of the dark. She won’t leave the motorhome now. The question is how to get her out from under it and back inside it. I wonder if I can leave the door open without the other cats getting out and see if Cleo comes in on her own? Difficult. I have to make sure 14 cats don’t get out while keeping the door open long enough for Cleo to come back inside on her own. Bela Lugosi could be a problem. She’s as hard to catch as Cleo and at night, you can’t see a black cat. Emily is asleep in the doorway, she doesn’t like to go out, domesticated life suits her just fine, so I don’t think she’ll escape. Bela and Pip have both tried getting past the door today (it’s this heat wave that’s got them restless). They are the two who’d run out, so I can’t let them near the open door.
No humans in my family. Just cats. Fifteen cats. And a pigeon, who can not fly. People ask me why. Why do you have so many cats? My family forgot me. Abandoned. Left behind when they moved away. Alone, since 2003. Abandoned the very day I was told I would never have children. Maybe that’s why it is so hard for me to set foot in a house. A house is for families. Mine moved away and left me behind. We had hopes and dreams, many children among them. Nine. A dozen. Fifteen. The plans always involved many, many children. I became very sick. Frighteningly ill. Symptoms shocking and alarming. Black outs and dizzy spells and so much blood. The doctor’s words were terrible. Miscarriage. Cancer. Ten years to live. No hope for children. Church and family was my life. All I lived for. I had nothing else. The next day. Sunday. Alone. The bishop told me not to come back. I was unworthy. A female without children had no place in the Kingdom of God. The evil woman punished by God, cursed with a barren womb. My church condemned me, my family obeyed. The flood came crashing through 3 years later, taking my house with it. I sought help the only place I knew: my church. The new bishop condemned me worse then the first.
These past 8 years have been a blur. I wander aimlessly through life. Church gone. Family gone. Home gone. Hopes and dreams of motherhood and children gone. No future to look forward to. No hope of growing old. My life has become as Poe so aptly put it, nothing but a dream within a dream. I now wander aimlessly from one day to the next, going back and forth between attempting to do all at once the things I hoped to do in a lifetime, then crashing down in a pool of despair at the realization I’ve not enough time to get any of them done. Each day another day closer to the future I do not have. Abandoned. Unloved. Cast aside. Unwanted. Alone. Alone each day. Alone each night. Seventeen years of faithful devotion meant nothing. Everything happened so fast. Bam, bam, bam. One event right after another. No time to think. No time to feel. No arms to hold me. No kisses to comfort me. Just harsh words and cold accusations of unrighteousness from the slaves on an invisible theology, who put ideals and pride above the value of compassion and human life. Aim I so easily cast aside?
That’s why I have the cats. That is why I am in college. Cats have replaced my family. College has replaced my church. I’m not in college for the degree, if I live long enough to get it, I won’t live long enough to use it. I just need to spend time with people. I don’t care who any more, or why. Someone. Any one. Anywhere. College is as good as the next place. The cats? Cats love me. Love unconditional. They don’t care where I live, what church I belong to, or how many children I can or cannot have. They simply love. No ultimatums. No threats. No conditions. No you better do this today or won’t love you tomorrow. Just love, pure and simple. When they leave, they come back. A cat won’t move five towns away and leave you behind. No family member is left behind. Cats stick together, through thick and through thin. The bonds of family can not be broken. That is why I know Cleo will come back. She is not a human. Her love has no strings attached. Humans throw you away when something better comes along. For cats, a family really is forever. No Heavenly Father plans involved. There is no greater happiness in life, then to love and be loved in return, and there is no greater sorrow than to love and be thrown away because you don’t match up to one dogma’s ideals.
My ability to be indoors has grown worse these past 8 years. To set foot in a house, has become unbearable. A flood of painful memories. Panic attacks. Massive mental shutdowns. The anguish. The torture. The pain in my brain. Sitting on the floor, silent, unresponsive. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or so I am told, and all it takes is to set foot in a house to trigger it. Or a church. Houses are for families. Mothers. Father. Husband. Wife. Lovers. Babies. Children. Houses have become nothing to me but tormentors to my pain. Houses are places of empty hopes and dreams. Churches like houses, trigger so much pain. Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father’s plan. I always want to be with my own family. And the Lord has shown how I can. It was nothing but lies. Every word of it. Lies. Lies. And ever more lies. My family abandoned me. Moved five towns away. Left me behind. I wasn’t good enough. I did not fit the ideal.
All I have left is my cats and my ocean. Together we live in a motorhome by the sea. There once was a time when I hoped against hope to be reunited with my love. To be a family again. That doctors were wrong. That children would come. But my health grows worse and lasts May’s visit to yet another doctor, for yet another opinion, has finally made me realize I have no future to hope for. My time on this world grows short.
I came home from the doctor, and sat alone on Mother’s Day, alone in my thoughts, on day that is nothing for me, but a nightmarish hell, no different to my mind then the horrors otherwise known to the world as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Days for families. Days for children. Mothers and babies and the little Christ Child. Days I sit alone while my family goes off to celebrate with family and friend. Me left behind. Abandoned. Unloved. Unwanted. Uninvited. Unincluded. Doors slammed in my face. The dead hollow laughter of the children that can never be, echo and haunting my mind.
I came home from the doctor, and sat alone on Mother’s Day, asking myself what is the one thing I wanted to do with my life? All I could think of was The Dazzling Razzberry, a car I designed in 1982. My whole life I kept telling everyone, someday I am going to build that car. No husband to love, no children to dote on, no time to do anything about either one, but I did have a car and great big piles of beads and rhinestones. Now all the energy that would have been spent husband and children goes into my car, and The Dazzling Razzberry, has at long last gone from the page to reality.
These past 8 years have been a blur. The doctor’s words were terrible. Miscarriage. Cancer. Ten years to live. No hope for children. Church and family was my life. All I lived for. I had nothing else. The next day. Sunday. Alone. The bishop told me not to come back. I was unworthy. A female without children had no place in the Kingdom of God. My church condemned me, my family obeyed. The flood came crashing through 3 years later, taking my house with it. I wander aimlessly through life. Church gone. Family gone. Home gone. Hopes and dreams of motherhood and children gone. No future to look forward to. No hope of growing old. My life has become as Poe so aptly put it, nothing but a dream within a dream. I now wander aimlessly from one day to the next, going back and forth between attempting to do all at once the things I hoped to do in a lifetime, then crashing down in a pool of despair at the realization I’ve not enough time to get any of them done. Each day another day closer to the future I do not have. Time grows shorter. Each hour another 60 minutes I have to spend alone. Abandoned. Unloved. Cast aside. Unwanted. Alone. Alone each day. Alone each night. Seventeen years of faithful devotion meant nothing. Everything happened so fast. Bam, bam, bam. One event right after another. No time in between. No time to think. No time to feel. No arms to hold me. No kisses to comfort me. Just harsh words and cold accusations of unrighteousness from the slaves on an invisible theology, who put ideals and pride above the value of compassion and human life. Aim I so easily cast aside?
Family. Husband. Children. Home. The only hope, the only dream I ever had, the only thing I wanted, the thing I shall never have. There must be something else to hope for. I sat alone last Mother’s Day asking myself if I can not do the one thing I wanted to do with my life, then what else is there for me? All I could think of was The Dazzling Razzberry, a car I designed in 1982. My whole life I kept telling everyone, someday I am going to build that car. No husband to love, no children to dote on, no time to do anything about either one, but I did have a car and great big piles of beads and rhinestones. Now all the energy that would have been spent husband and children goes into my car, and The Dazzling Razzberry, has at long last gone from the page to reality.
That’s why I have the cats. That is why I am in college. Cats have replaced my family. College has replaced my church. I’m not in college for the degree, if I live long enough to get it, I won’t live long enough to use it. I just need to spend time with people. I don’t care who any more, or why. Someone. Any one. Anywhere. College is as good as the next place. The cats? Cats love me. Love unconditional. They don’t care where I live, what church I belong to, or how many children I can or cannot have. They simply love. No ultimatums. No threats. No conditions. No you better do this today or won’t love you tomorrow. Just love, pure and simple. When they leave, they come back. A cat won’t move five towns away and leave you behind. Cats stick together, through thick and through thin. The bonds of family can not be broken. No family member is left behind. That is why I know Cleo will come back. She is not a human. Her love has no strings attached. Humans throw you away when something better comes along. For cats, a family really is forever. No Heavenly Father plans involved. There is no greater happiness in life, then to love and be loved in return, and there is no greater sorrow than to love and be thrown away because you don’t match up to one dogma’s ideals.
My only worry now, is who will take care of the cats when I am gone.
Strange how I can go from happy and content, wild and free, to teetering on the edge of the depths of despair in 9 seconds flat. How does one feel both happy and sad at the same time?
I’m trying to keep the cats in the front of No Hurry away from the back door, which is open, waiting for Cleo to return once again. Sprout ran to the door, but thought better of it and is washing his paws instead. Pip is curled up on the mushroom cap of my Laughing Gnome (garden ornament/bird bath). She does not fit, but she’s attempting to anyways.
The sun has gone down. It’s nearly time for bed. The cats are all getting into their usual nighttime sleeping spots. Still no Cleo. The temperatures are finally starting to drop. That’s a plus. I think I will go bring the cat’s water pail back from its spot in the brook, it should be cooled down again by now. Cleo likes to chase tall blades of grass. I wonder if I pick some and drag them along behind me, if she’ll follow me in?
It worked! Cleo came back in on her own. Chased a long (as in 4 feet) blade of grass from the swamp. Everybody is now back, safe, sound, and happy inside No Hurry, and I can go to bed. I’ll have to worry about my homework tomorrow, it’s too late now and I’ve no light to work by anyways. But Cleo is home again, me and my cat family are reunited together, and that is all that matters. When all is said and done family is all that matters and we have one more night at least, to spend together.
Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: Blogger, Etsy, FaceBook, Google+, Keen, MySpace, NaNoWriMo, ProBoards, Script Frenzy, Spoonflower, Squidoo, Twitter, ULC Ministers Network, Wordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!
~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow
This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat
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