Letters from New England Pt. 02byMissBri©
July 20, 2006
I have now been in New Hampshire for exactly a month and I miss you all dearly. I had planned to write much more often, but you know how things go. Around the time of my last letter, my grandfather passed away. He had been sick for years with cancer and Parkinson’s, among other ailments – so it wasn’t a huge shock when I got the call from my aunt. She was a mess, we were both flat broke and hours north of where Papa was being kept as comfortable as possible until his time came. He was still lucid and stubborn when the cancer was found, but because he was old and already sick he refused to let the doctors perform a biopsy. His request request was merely to be kept out of as much pain as possible until he died, and that request was honoured by all.
My Papa and I always got along amazingly well; even when I was a baby, he would take me ever chance he got and delight in the faces I would make when he gave me bits of sweet or tart fruits to taste. In later years, as I traveled and he got sicker, we never saw each other very often. Still, when I did make it back to where he lived, he was always ecstatic to see me. More recently, my mother told me that he asked for me even when he couldn’t remember all of his own children.
I was torn when I heard that a nurse had called and told my aunt that we needed to go down and see him immediately if we wanted to say goodbye; it hurt that I hadn’t seen him since my wedding four years ago and I missed him dreadfully, but if he was really so close to death, it seemed somehow wrong to go see him. If I thought that he would know who I was or I could have somehow eased his suffering, I would have gone down in a heartbeat. I spent the rest of that evening drinking wine, crying and trying to figure out if I could even make my way down to be with my family.
In the morning, I decided that I would call and ask to speak with him. There had been close calls in the past, so I knew it was possible that he would improve. The nurse paused when I inquired as to how bad he was, whether it would be possible to speak with him. Then she told me that he had already passed that morning. One of my aunts was with him, and a cousin – but I called my mum and even she hadn’t heard anything.
I was in a bit of shock, and I called Lizzy to let her know that I no longer had any need of a ride down to Massachusetts. For hours, I could do nothing but cry. When Lizzy came home from work, she called me into the house from where I’d been chain smoking on the back porch.
At first, I couldn’t make out the tiny black bundle of fur cradled in her arms. Her dress was black, too. Then she held him forward and I sort of stared blankly at the wee kitten she’d brought home. She loosed a flood of words, explaining how she thought a new baby to hang out with would help because she could tell from the message I’d left her that I was a mess. She told me how it had taken several men climbing around the farm stand’s barn to capture the little bugger, and she would take care of him if I didn’t want him for my own.
I cried again, holding the little one to my chest and feeling the nervous thumping of his heart as dogs and cats alike tried to say their hellos. I decided to name him Clifford, after my Papa. And then, as if to show us that he was every bit as headstrong as the old man had been, he showed his distaste of the situation by throwing a fit and clawing the hell out of Lizzy’s arm.
We managed to get little Cliff into a carrier and up to my room, where he spent several days hiding under various pieces of furniture. I was concerned when he hadn’t used the litter box by the second day; he had been sneaking out of his hidey holes when I was sleeping or not in the room and I could see that he was eating and drinking. When he did start using his box, I was as proud as any kitty mama can be when her little ones are smart enough to figure out the right thing to do.
Cliff has slowly made progress. After he’d been here almost a week, I coaxed him out of his hangout under my dresser and plopped him down in a nest I’d made on the bed. He tried to get away but started purring and makin’ biscuits on the comforter almost immediately. Now he sleeps curled up with me most nights and likes to nap on my feet when I’m sitting at the typewriter. Mercifully, he also continues to use his litter box. My attempts to integrate him into the rest of the household haven’t gone so well… He still hides from Lizzy, and becomes very indignant when I let one of the other critters hang out so they can get used to one another. Lizzy’s pit bull is a sweet li’l thing and one of her new favourite pastimes is to lie with her head under my bed, staring at Cliff and wagging her tail. I’m sure they’ll be friends someday, but for now Cliff only seems to want to be buddies with me. As far as we know, he’s still only about three months old.
My other kitty babies remain in New Mexico. One of them snuck into the neighbour’s apartment, causing her to have an allergic reaction that ended with the cats being evicted by the landlady. Luckily for me and them, my mother in law is a sweetheart and is keeping my kids at her house while she waits for an open spot at a place where furry babies are kept until they can find new homes; new parents are screened before they can take home a new pet. I wish I could get them out here, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a possibility; I simply don’t have the funds to get them and I’d worry to much about their safety, living in the woods next to fishers and other hostile nighttime critters. They’re city cats and don’t have much common sense; one of them delights in playing in traffic and has nearly given me several heart attacks.
It’s been one hell of a year of loss, and I hope that things start looking up soon for everyone I care about. I’m tired of being sad for myself and others when all I want to do is rejoice for all of us. Then again, I know how much that is to ask. Maybe just a little while that holds more happy endings and beginnings than ones full of sorrow?
Although I do get lonely out here sometimes, having free long distance on my cell at night and on weekends helps. I get to talk with some of you on occasion, and I hope that I’m not wholly depressing when I do.
The near future holds some excitement for me. In five days, Lizzy and I will be going to the Buccaneer Bash – or, as we affectionately refer to it, the Pirate Booze Cruise. It’s being orchestrated by a local radio station and we each won a pair of tickets, so we’re going and bringing along two of her friends. After we went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie last weekend, I am hellbent on being the cutest drag king pirate on the boat. While I’m not generally very vain, I think I’ll do a good job – and I’m looking forward to having an excuse to suggest to the sweet pirate lasses that they swash my buckle. Living out in the woods certainly helps one appreciate life’s smaller pleasures.
Lizzy and I are getting very excited about our trip to New York city to hang out with a handful of you lovely pervs, and the anticipation grows daily. Just three weeks now until that happens, and I’m even more ecstatic because of someone who has only hinted that she may be in attendance. I won’t jinx myself or embarrass her by spilling any details, but I will say that my heart jumps into my throat at the mere thought of meeting her.
Sometime in the very near future, I may also be visiting Maryland for my first paid, live session with a phone client. Worry not – big sis Jammies had made me promise to be careful. It’s exciting in a nervous sort of way, and that is compounded by the fact that, while he’s not looking for a prostitute like some men who call me, his fantasy is a bit on the peculiar side. I’ve heard stranger, but the scenario is certainly unique. Wish me luck!
Since defaulting back to a vegetarian diet when I got here, I’ve lost more than ten pounds without trying… This has inspired me to actually make an effort to lose more so I can feel better about myself and just generally be healthier. It’s working so far, though I’m clearly still not quite ready to give up smoking. (Sis, I can hear you clucking from here!)
I hope you all are well and miss you immensely.
Licks and snuggles,