chan… a born spy

Page Sixty-one

sehnen posted on Jun 20, 2008 | views: 61 | Tags: but death is waitingx

fri 20 june 2008   Greenfield


Instead of going red from the flash, his eyes went martian. And I got rather distorted and otherworldly with this photo, but in a strange way I like it.

Chan was one of Judah’s six children. I kept three and gave three away to two of my friends. He was one of the three cats that the “shelter” slaughtered on 24 March because “he wasn’t very friendly” (and the people in this brain-dead community think that “shelter” is god’s gift to the world). This lack of friendliness implied to these yupies at the shelter, I guess, that he was maybe mean, which I never saw a trace of in twelve years. He was as shy and reclusive as his mother, but I myself — and my friends over the years — never saw a trace of meanness from him. And yet, I hope my boy broke his normal behavior patterns and was mean as a tiger to those yuppies in the days before they killed him. I hope he bit and scratched the hell out of them — cat scratch fever, blood poisoning, the works.

His name. I stop to mention this only because for the last week I have been seeing a connection to Chan’s name a whole lot. During the fifteen weeks of my new existence that is not my life, I had until recently seen this connection, this man, only a handful of times; but in the last week I have suddenly seen him a great deal. He’s a photographer, and I’m an amateur photographer myself, but that’s not how we met. We met a hundred years ago when our children were little in turners falls, and they were friendly for a couple of years. This man has a child named Chan, and I always liked that name. Several years later my child and I started naming lots of our mama cat’s family with ch-names, and when Judah’s litter came along, I named one boy Chan after this photographer’s child.

His nature. Shy, reclusive, never mean. But Chan was a born spy. He could be clandestine and sneaky better than many cats I’ve known. When Chan wanted something — and he was a very undemanding soul — but when he wanted something, he put on this spy act to get it. Usually it was a morsel of food he wanted, and he wanted it before any dog could find it (originally there were four dogs). So he would walk quietly around the edges of things, towards the food. And this was not fear. He wasn’t skulking and acting afraid to be caught, he was just proceeding incognito, so that no other cat or dog would notice what he was doing and get to the morsel before he did. This routine made me laugh for years. If I were watching, as I often was, he’d get to the food, fix me with a very intense look, as if to say “I went to all this damned trouble. Can I eat this?” And I, of course, would say: it’s all yours, Chan.

If three very disturbed, and controlling, and fairly unintelligent (not to mention insensitive) women had not decided to tear us apart, my Chan, born the day before my own birthday in 1996, would have lived out his life in his family, in his familiar milieu. He would have continued to be allowed to be shy, to be allowed to be quiet and “unfriendly,” without getting killed for it. He would have died with me touching him, as it should be, and he would have been well loved till the natural end of his life. If, if, if.

May the people who took part in killing him get the karma that all the karma-believing people say such acts earn. May they lose all that’s dear to them. May the ocean’s dogs devour them thrice.

Update 6 July 2009: I was very angry when I wrote this. A few months after Chan had been murdered, and that’s how I see it, I was still very angry. I’m angry now, but as I’ve said, the antidepressant makes one rather flat and dull. At least, that’s one of the things that it does to me. Last week my therapist said he was going to help me find out what happened to the rest of the animals. But he hasn’t brought it up again, and I haven’t, and I guess I’m going to have to keep at him about it.

and another update 7 March 2011:  That particular therapist gave me his word on three separate occasions between June 2009 and January 2010 that he was going to do everything he could to find how and when and where my animals had died. He agreed that I needed this “closure.” He did in fact, in six whole months, make two whole phone calls. One to the smarmy priest in turners, one to someone at the DMH. That’s when he told me that I had been “screwed by the system.” That there had indeed been a plan in 2008 to put me in a certain apartment with most of my animals, after a brief period of homelessness. He said he didn’t know what apartment, or why the plan had not happened. But in January 2010 he started to waffle on the subject of finding out about the animals. We wrangled until the middle of March, when he finally said he wasn’t going to do it. Said he didn’t “believe in it.”  That’s when I stopped seeing him. And I told him exactly why I was stopping: he had given me his word on this matter three different times, and had not kept it. He had shown me that I couldn’t trust his word, had demonstrated a failure of integrity. This guy works for ServiceNet, the same organization that runs the two Massachusetts shelters I stayed in. He thinks of himself as a cut above the usual social service robot, and I thought of him in that way too for a good while. But on the day I tell him why I’m not going to see him anymore, he whines in the tone of voice you’d expect from a five-year-old:  “Failure of integrity? That’s my daily bread. People are failing in their integrity all the time around here, but I keep workin’ here. It doesn’t have to be the end of us working together.” Well, it did for me. I have never stayed with a therapist, or a friend, or a doctor, whose word I couldn’t trust, who didn’t treat me in an honorable way. Once the trust is broken, once integrity has failed, especially with a therapist, I can’t go on.

Chan: your indestructible energy out there, around me somewhere. I love you as big as the sea.

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