for a limited time, from Hippie Heaven & Mountain Mecca!
I had to fill out a form and list the last few addresses we’d lived at – this
threw me for a loop. I had to pause and think for a minute. This problem will
not be helped by the fact that we will be moving (again) at the beginning of
November. Hmmm, I don’t hear any gasps of shock and surprise. Where are we going
Aitutaki Island! “Survivor” fans will recognize
this lovely little speck in the South Pacific, in the Cook Islands, (close to New Zealand). We will be running a quaint,
beachfront resort called Matriki Beach Huts.
while you may be picturing me jumping up and down doing that dance that Snoopy
always does, the phrase, “be careful what you wish for”, keeps looping through
my brain. Visiting the South Pacific is high up on my Things To Do
Before I Die list. Of course, Prez is in full Snoopy-dance mode, so why aren’t
it’s true I can write anywhere in the world, moving to paradise means no writing
community. No writer’s groups, no writing events, no writing conferences or
seminars, no brainstorming with other word-geeks…sigh. Before you start hurling
rotten produce at me for making such a fuss over something so small, let me
just explain…it’s not so small. Writer’s spend a lot of time alone – it’s not
exactly a group activity – and the small bits of contact we have with one
another are like gold. Yes, I’ll have email. Yes, there are online resources.
But, really, it’s not the same as face-to-face.
assured me he will do his utmost to make sure I have loads more keyboard
time, and that is a small comfort. He is also quick to point out that our
commitment is only for a year and, therefore, if it truly is horrible for me,
I’ve only lost a year…no biggie.
there’s Emily. (Big sigh…single tear drop).
hoops one must jump through to bring a pet to the Cook Islands are legion. And, even if I were
willing to do all that is required, I know it’s not really in the best interest
of my aging North American Carpet Panther. 30 days in quarantine in New Zealand is no one’s idea of a good time,
especially a 14 year old cat with bad kidneys and a thyroid problem. SIGH.
of my companion of almost a decade and a half is the hardest part of this move
for me to accept. There have been buckets of tears, and though I’m moving
toward acceptance, I still feel sick to my stomach every time I look at that
furry little face. Now, non-pet-types will be thinking, ‘So what, it’s just a
cat?’. I understand how people can feel that way, but she is more than just a
cat to me.
and I found each other when I was working at Guildford Animal Hospital in Surrey. She was a stray, only five
weeks old, someone had found and brought to us. She was also having continuous
seizures. The SPCA was so full, at the time, they were automatically
euthanising any kittens that came through. We were also full and the doctors
didn’t expect her to live through the night…so I took her home with me…to make
her last few moments comfortable. Ha! She perked up almost as soon as I carried
her through the front door. Smart feline, that one.
smart, and fearless, and a pain in the behind most of the time. I wanted to
name her after a smart and fearless woman, and Amelia Earhart kept coming to
mind. “Amelia” didn’t quite fit her, but then “Emily” flowed out of it and I
thought, ‘Emily Bronte, yes, a writer, smart, brave, perfect’. The rest is
did not take to me right away…or to my ex (smart cat)…or to the dog…or to,
well, any other living creature (not much has changed). She was the
quintessential independent cat. I clearly remember the first time she ever
voluntarily jumped up on my lap and cuddled (she was about 4 years old, I
think). Of all the cats I’ve had, and there have been many, she was not the
friendliest, the funniest, or even the best, but she’s the one who stuck. Why?
I think it’s because she was the most like me. She likes her space, I get that.
and I weathered my horrible first marriage and equally horrible divorce, my
mother’s illness and death, and all the various minor tragedies life’s thrown
my way. Cat fur has amazing properties of absorption when it comes to human
tears. She’s traveled to Mexico (more than once), across the U.S. (in the front of a U-Haul), to
the Bahamas (by boat), and to Costa Rica (by plane). She’s camped in the
desert, hunted lizards in the jungle, and been smuggled into many a hotel. As
cats lives go, hers has been full.
imagined we would be together until the end. But now I have to let her go, have
to find a loving home (without other pets or children) for her…and it’s
breaking my heart. Must stop now, crying again.
that’s why I’m not doing the Snoopy dance. That’s why this Chronicle is not filled
with exhortations on the Cook Islands and the world-class lagoon we will soon be
don’t start until early November, so I have at least some time left to confer
with other writerly types and smother my furry friend with affection. I know
this is going to be a big adventure; I’m not sorry we’re going, only sorry for
the sacrifices. It’s killing Prez not to have me join him in his JOY. I’ll get
there, eventually. But it will be without Emily, and somehow all the palm trees
and lagoons in the world don’t seem as wonderful as one grouchy, pain in the
ass cat right now.
right? (Sigh to the tenth power).
Do you have a best friend with fur and bad breath?
So, my 2nd place winning short-short story, “Attempted”, is now up on
the Writer’s Digest Magazine’s website. If you’d like a look, just click HERE.
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life (and your