September 16, 2010

self preservation

a disturbing memory

I remember when my last cat died; I was 12 years old, and he was the third cat I'd had in as many years. I held him gently in my arms and cried hot tears onto his soft grey fur. His belly sagged unnaturally in my lap, flattened by my mother's minivan, and he cried pitifully and gripped my leg with his front paws. The claws hurt, digging deep into my bare thigh, but I didn't care. My hands fluttered helplessly over his body, hardly wanting to touch him anywhere for fear of causing him more pain. Eventually his eyes rolled back in his head, and he went still, and it was in that moment that I decided I would never love another cat. It just wasn't worthwhile; not anymore. This was the final lesson; I had discovered that I could not keep anything I loved. And I decided I would do what I could to protect myself. I would choose to not-love. I would not-love any more cats. I would not-love any more dogs. I would not-love my clothes. I would not-love my toys. I would not-love myself.

But I would love my parents. My scary, confusing parents. Maybe, if I loved them, someday someone would take them away.

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