I was mulling over ideas for an image contest I might enter… not having settled for anything yet, I looked through a gallery of stock images for white cats. The search term didn’t work that well and I ended up with all sorts: black cats, torties, tabbies, Siamese, Tonkinese, grey cats, tigers, cougars, women in costume…
At first I was just flipping through, stopping at this picture or that, thinking “this one would look good but I would have to paint the tail in” and so on. After a while, I got sad. My tinnitus changes to suit my mood (and reinforce it, I suspect), so I heard the pop equivalent of plaintive violins. I can’t identify it. A male voice singing kindly, as if over a guitar in the deepening summer dusk. A little bit distant, as though I looked over to the next hill slope and he’s sitting there in the honey-warm heather, warbling away on his own.
It’s a wonder I haven’t just drifted away in my sleep… stopped breathing, as the world I live in is not this one! Some of those modelling photos made me uncomfortable: they brought it home to me that I’m surrounded by a host of people living on a different planet. If we’re all on that other planet, who’s on this one?
Back to the cats. I wondered what the unwitting feline models would think if they realized people were putting them in pictures of their own, painting them, or just looking at their cute little button noses from the other side of the world. Each cat was individual… I could imagine how I would have loved each one.
I’d just finished that sentence (not wearing hearing aids as they were tiring my ears) and there was a loud bang, one of those that you feel all through you. You thought somebody was attacking and threw your arms protectively round your head, then realize something fairly major has fallen down or exploded… by ‘fairly major’ I mean not just a pile of books toppling to the floor. I whipped round, my heart hammering. Samson was chasing a moth and had knocked over a heavy tower of tape cassettes.
He wasn’t in the least bit repentant, just chased the fluttering will ‘o the wisp all the way down the stairs and back again, even with me standing on the landing shaking a fist. I looked over my shoulder just now, and he was skulking round by the foot of the tower again… doesn’t care if he knocks it down. Chased him out of the room a second time, but he’s immediately come back.
Where was I?
“Each cat was individual… I could imagine how I would have loved each one.” Sitting looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths… and I believe them.
Why should that make me sad? I have Samson and Delilah (otherwise known as Springy and Squishy). I’m thinking of other cats I’ve known… Sharky heads the list, followed by Thor, Fusspot, Lucky, Tarquin, Scampi, and others. Tarquin was a black moggy with a white bib; I named him after a character in a Georgette Heyer novel. (Well, I was 12 or 14 or something like that). Mum said Tarquin was the stupidest cat she’s ever known. A comfortable, friendly boy though; I miss him.
Does this mean that we can never look at something we like with without feeling pain? The only item I can look at and think “I’ll never lose this,” is my bed!
The accompanying picture is one of the cats I hovered over for ages in the stock photo gallery… he has kind eyes and a modest expression like Thor. if I could have given him a hug, I would have. The original picture can be found at One White Whisker. The cloudy sky is one of mine.
Later, when Mum came upstairs, I told her about the tower of cassettes being knocked over. She said (unsurprisingly), “yes, I heard.” Then added, “my friends tell me it must be nice to hear somebody moving about the house.”
“Who did that??? Don’t DO that!!!”
(Sound of cats thundering uncaringly up and down the stairs).