Yesterday I was an unsettling mixture of cheerful and miserable. Cheerful because I was finally getting on with things, and glimpsed Big Sister for about six seconds (I was starting to wonder when I last saw anybody I knew). Miserable because my PC’s hard drive finally failed and I have to buy a new one. Now is definitely not the time. Also miserable because of a book I dipped into at lunch time.
The book (which I don’t want to name for fear of spoiling someone else’s experience when they reach for it – but I can tell you if you want to know) told a true story of a little boy who befriended a wild animal. It waited for him every day at the same spot in order to be fed. One day it approached some strangers and was killed. The little boy, of course, was devastated. His father said “that was your mistake – you took away his fear of humans.”
It’s one of those stories you wish you’d never been told, but because you know these things happen, you file it in the box in your mind labelled animals killed for being too trusting. Having put the story away, I got on with the rest of the day without thinking about it. But later at night, as I was about to go to bed, I pushed the window open and stared out at the moon, which was very bright but not quite full. How do people know whether it’s waxing or waning? It must be waxing, surely, because I’ve been such a bundle of apathetic uselessness recently, and it’s only in the last couple of days that I’ve pulled myself together and got things done.
I found myself thinking about the little boy’s friend who came and waited for him every evening. I tried to imagine refusing such a friendship, or weaning the animal off it gradually by failing to turn up every so often; letting the times you didn’t feed it stretch out longer and longer, till finally it stopped coming. But I also imagined staying in the house knowing it was out there waiting for you, searching for you with shiny hopeful eyes. How could one go through with that, even for fear of what other humans might do?
A paw patted my bare foot softly. Surprised, I turned back into the room. Sharky’s tabby form was lying stretched out by my feet as he winked and twinkled at me. The light tap of his paw on my foot had been no accident. I felt he had deliberately drawn me back from my voyage to the moon so I would stop thinking about an animal who died far away and long ago.
Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:
1. Pacian wrote at Sep 10, 2006 at 16:09:
I was in a sad mood the other day after reading a book with a slightly nasty ending. I hate stories that try and pretend that life isn’t hard, but a little *too much* honesty can be difficult to cope with.
2. Diddums wrote at Sep 11, 2006 at 00:23:
As my old pappy used to say, “a trouble shared is a trouble doubled.”
Actually it wasn’t my old pappy, it was a friend who sometimes reads this blog, so I better not be caught out in a lie!
3. kaz wrote at Sep 11, 2006 at 20:55:
D is for declining, but a D moon is the opposite. I loved the story, funny how things like that can affect our mood
4. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 01:41:
Thanks, Kaz – and the thing about having blogged about it is that I now remember it every time I visit my page. Maybe I should blog about something different now, and get it out of my head…
5. kateblogs wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 11:20:
That sounds like the Yearling – it has a similar theme, but events take place a little differently. I know what you mean, we all know about the harsh realities of life, but don’t always want to be reminded of them quite so graphically.
“I’ve been such a bundle of apathetic uselessness recently”
Same here – I’m a little like Worzel Gummidge when he hasn’t got his thinking head on at the moment.
6. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 13:35:
I don’t think I read or watched Worzel Gummidge – he reminded me of Catweasel, and the whole scarecrow/old man thing depressed me when I was little.
7. Kim Ayres wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 15:41:
To answer your waxing/waning bit – if the full curve of the moon is on the right, it’s waxing, and if it’s on the left, it’s waning.
8. Diddums wrote at Sep 12, 2006 at 16:08:
Ah – now I understands what Kaz means by saying a declining moon is the opposite of a D – I didn’t realize. That’s interesting to know – thanks! I looked at it again last night and there was even less of it than before, so Kaz is right about it being on the wane.