not exactly purr fect

Every wall in my house is splattered with blood right now. Happy Mother’s Day.

After an absolutely wonderful but exhausting week of rehearsals I come home to see the cat has for once not peed on my bed. I am so happy to see her sitting there, docile and dry on my quilt that I pick her up in my arms, kiss her on the head, forgive all, promise treats and walk through my door, whipping it shut to make sure she doesn’t change her mind. One has to whip the bedroom door shut because it sticks. Unfortunately and freakishly, Licorice darts her tail out just at that moment in that split second that the door jam is large enough to fit her fluff and BAM she SCREECHES and leaps out of my arms as the end of her tail goes THUNK down to the ground on the other side of the door. She runs, a shrieking banshee, blood spurting out from her nubby prong, whipping it back and forth, running all over the house and up on every single piece of furniture possible to escape the pain. She is a ghoulish bloody one cat wonder Halloween sprinkler. Horror horror horror strikes William Street. The poor thing! Nora is beside herself shaking jazz hands, my room mate, Bianca comes rushing out with eyes Hitchcock wide and I feel as though I should call the police and turn myself in for animal cruelty. Instead, I call animal emergency.IMG_1038

They are compassionate but unperturbed. Apparently this happens quite often.  So, while she’s in at the vet for them to amputate the nub and leave a clean end, we also get her up to date on her shots and fixed. This however, does not mean a bargain bundle. It just means my poor cat gets one hell of a day and a cone of shame. And I get to pay the vet half of my monthly mortgage.

While she’s under today, I am feeling like a black hole. Nora gives me a lovely little home made candle and a card: “you light up my life”. I think I made the same card for my Mom thirty years ago but we had Debbie Boone to back up the pun. She writes “You make my world as great as a cupcake”. Her favourite memory is “running through the sprinkler with Violet and me”. I swear it was Tara Jean who did that…but I’ll take it and run with it.

We decide to shake off the horrifying pall of the day and go for a bike ride around the sea wall. It’s an amazing afternoon. Everyone in Vancouver is outside basking in the sun. The sea sparkles, the mountains bristle with excitement and every child is laughing. We do English Bay to Denman, then Vancouver Harbour to China town and home. It’s glorious. I even get the bonus perk of bumping into Tom McBeath over gelato. Nora’s long legs spider along on her shiny yellow two wheeler and she feels very grown up, leading the way over the Georgia Street viaduct. I shadow behind her resisting  the nag “keep to your right, dear”.

We pick up our seething growling little kitty in her carrier (that she hates) and her cone. We take her home, still full crime scene. Licorice makes her way slowly around the house, bumping into things humiliatingly, getting used to the dimensions of her plastic head. Her tail is shaved at the end into an “F u” finger. Her hopes of motherhood now dashed. I say, “You’re allowed to pee on anything you want.” But she doesn’t. She just sighs and groans and skulks. Nora munches her pizza and watches the cat fretfully as I survey the blood all over everything. When am I going to find the time to clean this before opening?

I get my child off to bed with no time to snuggle – she complains. Come on, give me a break, at least we read the last chapter of Anne. Oh my goodness – how can it be nine thirty already?! I miss wishing my own mother Happy Mother’s Day. And let me tell you, my Mother deserves a call. Thank God she has two other children.

I look at the cat, realizing I am heaped with guilt. I walk carefully beside her and sit down in a posture that an “art of gesticulation” instructor would likely call “seeking forgiveness”.

I didn’t mean it.

I can snuggle tomorrow.

My Mom will understand.

I carefully and tenderly pet my poor kitten.

And…I hear something – it can’t be – yes indeed it is – how is that possible?

She purrs.

And I guess that’s what happens when you are the person in charge of nurturing others. There are those moments of riding downhill towards the sea squealing with delight and there are the moments the tail gets slammed in the door. In the end, you have to trust that they know they’re loved and you’re doing your best. And somehow together you create some kind of home worth snuggling into.IMG_1028


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1 comment

  1. Leanna Brodie

    Yup. That’s a great way to put it. I guess that the only alternative to occasionally sideswiping the ones we love, is simply to love no one. Your loved ones are so lucky that you get out of bed every morning and give it your best shot.

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