We were friends. Every night, I went to sleep, not thinking of consequences. But one fine morning (nah, I’m kidding, it wasn’t fine), I found that the cat’s scratch was right underneath my eyelid. I ignored it. The following morning, the scratch had made itself at home. I stared at its presence. Words on flesh. The cat’s constant purring was too close for comfort, and just when I thought I could hold her close, it pawed at my face, clumsily perhaps, but nevertheless, there it was, a scar had formed. On my face. Just in case I tried to forget. I am still me, except for the scar she carved. But the cat is still a fine creature, demanding of attention, willing to reciprocate every once in awhile, moody, loving, and unpredictable. Would she have scratched if she cared “enough”? Can you measure a concept as vague and as fleeting as affection/love?
After a long day, when all I want to do is drop my guard, she climbs onto my lap and stares at me. Anticipating. Waiting. Inquiring. Greeted by silence, she meows and purrs as though we have no history. I don’t recall the words, it’s hard enough when we speak different languages. I can only touch the now scabrous skin. Each night it digs itself further into me.
One of my favorite authors, Jeanette Winterson, has a seductive way with words. Her words have a dizzying effect, and at the same time, make all the sense in the world. She’s an expert on love and describing love:
‘I fell in love once, if love be that cruelty which takes us straight to the gates of Paradise only to remind us they are closed forever.’ Jeanette Winterson.
“How is it that one day life is orderly and you are content, a little cynical perhaps but on the whole just so, and then without warning you find the solid floor is a trapdor and you are now in another place whose geography is uncertain and whose customs are strange? Travellers at least have a choice. Those who set sail know that things will not be the same as at home. Explorers are prepared. But for us, who travel to cities of the interior by chance, there is no preparaton. We who are fluent find life is a foreign language. Somewhere beween the swamp and the mountains. Somewhere beween fear and sex. Somewere beween God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back worse.”
― Jeanette Winterson, The Passion