aram and abel (me an crann marbh)

Page Seventy-six

sehnen posted on Jul 02, 2008 | views: 37 | Tags: the missing kittensx

tues 2 july 2008   Greenfield                       

sleepy, sleepy, but on with it…

It’s probably doing them an injustice, but I always think of Aram and Abel as a pair, whereas I don’t do this with the other set of brothers, Ziidjian and Chan. But Aram and Abel stuck to each other like glue for about the first five years of their lives, in a way that the other brothers didn’t, though the other two certainly had a bond. Chan and Ziidjian were my black brunette brothers, and Aram and Abel were the blondies, like their mother. Abel was tan (or “buff”, as some snooties once called it), and Aram orange. They both tended to bullyhood when they were feeling insecure, but Abel was much stronger in this role than his brother was. Aram was more of a people cuddler than Abel was, and liked  to kiss faces and make squeaky noises. Abel was invested in overseeing the household and making sure all animals were behaving themselves, as he himself defined behaving.

But get these boys outdoors, and they literally cried for their mama, namely me. They never even saw the outdoors until they were three years old, and they did not like it. They would stay out there reasonably happily if I stayed with them, but as soon as I went in, the howling and scratching at the door began. And I mean howling and scratching. As if someone were pulling out their fingernails. Such tough guys. They were odd cats in some ways, maybe not quite all there in some hard-to-define way, like their mother and their sister. Though their mother was very sweet and never bullied anyone, so they must have got that trait from the old man, whoever that was. The mating of their mother, Laxa, was not a deliberate one, but rather was due to my inadequate repair of a hole in a screen door. As birth time got nearer, I prepared her a nest box, but she wanted no part of it. Late that morning I left for about five hours of shopping and lunching and general social time with my friend. Laxa had been fine. Lying on a bed grooming herself. No sign of the onset of labor.

What a day of panic that was — a mother about to give birth had disappeared into thin air. I got home and could not find her. I feared she had whizzed out the door when I left and kittens were being born outdoors somewhere where I’d never find them. And yet I knew she hadn’t got out the door  —  I’d been very careful about that. But where the hell was she? At last Iwent into the largest bedroom, to check in there for the umpteenth time. There was Laxa sitting on a windowsill. She hadn’t been there any of the dozen other times I’d looked. She was no longer pregnant. The search for the mother over, now the hunt for the kittens began. When I finally found them more than an hour later, they were right beside that very windowsill, at the bottom of a pile of dirty laundry that was, I kid you not, ten feet high. The washing machine had broken, and I’d gotten very behind. I hauled the kittens out, examined and admired, put them into a wicker dog bed in the bathroom and shut their mother in there with them where I would know where they were. No more hours of bloody anxiety. Then I collapsed in exhaustion. Animals can always surprize; my decades of living among them and caring for them and sharing life with them certainly taught me that. In retrospect, this birth at the bottom of a tower of dirty clothes is funny; but it was not funny on that day. Tiny little Laxa’s three kids were about eleven hours shy of being summer solsice babies. That would have been nice. But they were safe, and beautiful, and brand new in the world.

June 2oth, just a couple of weeks ago, was their eighth birthday. Are they still alive? Are they still living in that smarmy priest’s garage full of crap, or has someone taken the time and trouble to catch them?  Here I sit, not allowed to visit them. Not allowed to help catch them, not allowed to know where and how they are today. As if I were some animal-abusing criminal whose animals had been seized, rather than the victim of an illegal eviction and an inept social service agency.

I can almost never dwell on thoughts of four of my cats living all alone in a stinking garage. No love, no family, no sense of home and of things being all right. Afraid of every person who opens that garage door and yells at them, or talks phoney sweet to them. I can’t bear these thoughts anymore. It hurts like the end of the world.

Update 24 July 09:  That birthday that those three cats had, the one I wrote about on this post last year, was my first without them. Their first without me and their family. This year they had their 9th birthday on June 20, if they are still alive anywhere. I’ve said before and will no doubt say again: in May last year I was told by two different people that these three cats and one other were living with the priest of the Polish church in Turners Falls, but I was never told that I could visit them, nor have I ever been told that since. Such visits would have meant so much to me, would have given my heart back a tiny fraction of what had been stolen. Are those cats still with that priest, or did he have them put to sleep after a while? No one in Turners Falls who knows — and there are those who know — will tell me. It’s more important for these people who claim to be christians to keep the ugly little community secrets than it is to be merciful. I’ve said before and will no doubt say again: I do not forgive them. I do not claim to be a christian. I am an atheist. One who believes in holding people accountable for their immoral behavior.

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(part of the book Stolen Stars)

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