About a month ago, our house was chosen by a pretty special little lady. She would drop by every day and hang around the verandah..after a while she would let us stroke her softly, but never for too long. Then she let us feed her. One day she let me hold her little triangle face in my hands as she looked at me, eyes half open and relaxed. Needless to say, I feel in love with her and felt I had found a sort of kindred.
I appreciated that she was still young & living on the streets, and although cautious she was worldly enough to be casually confident. The more I came to know her the more I noticed little details like the spray of chocolate fur against her chest, in contrast to the almost-black of her shiny clean coat. The way her eyes were sometimes green, sometimes almost yellow. The way she was suspicious of people she knew didn't particularly like cats, even though they weren't doing anything.
She was smart, and so beautiful and calm. I so badly wanted to keep her.
But we couldn't. It's not my house, and so arrangements were made as my heart broke and the local council came to pick her up because she was a stray, and took her to their animal shelter to be checked out and put up for adoption if no one claims her within a week.
I've been thinking about her a lot and trying (but failing) not to get teary when I think about her tiny frame and piercing eyes. Surprised by how childish my emotions and anger and hurt towards the people that would not let me keep her are: I feel like I'm a seven year old who didn't get her way. I'm mostly upset because it's one of the first times I've ever felt like I've had an unspoken understanding with an animal.
I didn't want to take her in and domesticate her, put a collar on her and call her mine. I just wanted her to feel free to come around and leave food out for her, make sure she was ok and just sit in silence with her, as we had been doing with great relish these last few weeks.
The only name that came to mind when I saw her was Sylvia. She was just the right mix of brave and fragile, soft and street-wise, dismissive and needing of affection. I feel a bit lost now.
"Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn."
— Sylvia Plath (The Journals of Sylvia Plath)