Saturday morning reflections on the 14th day of April.

 

I’m wearing my old green plaid flannel pajama pants this
morning and the last pair of slippers my Mom made for me (green on green). I’m wrapped up in the oldest, most frayed
sweatshirt I own – the one from Cal Poly Pomona that I got on clearance when I
went to my first academic conference. I
was a first year graduate student at ASU and editorial assistant for the
National Association for Ethnic Studies and the conference was a working
one. But it was an academic conference
and I was there. The sweatshirt proves
it and still somehow proves something to me each time I pull it out of the back
of the closet.

 

It’s raining in San Josethis morning. When I got out of bed this morning and pulled open the drapes, it was
merely grey. The cool grey, almost
white, of a spring morning. Later,
during my second cup of coffee the rain began. Tentative at first: I couldn’t
hear it over the furnace, but I could see it when I looked out at the magnolia
tree across the street. Later, a
downpour that made me want to stop reading and to look at the rain. So, of course I got up to go to the bathroom,
get another cup of coffee and put in my contact lenses – so I could see what I
was going to look at. When I returned to
my chair, the rain had settled down to a quick, steady fall. The flash downpour apparently over.

 

There are two cats living with me now. My niece jokes that I’m the crazy knitting
lady living with the cats. And she’s not
far off. Chiquita is actually her cat
whom she “loaned” to my Mom for company. The company of the cat, the company of the Grandma – both seemed important
at the time. Chiquita is a Mexican street cat –
adopted right off the calle in la Ciudad de Mexico. She’s got scars and a bad attitude, but the
ability to purr and love like a real fighter. In the morning she likes to jump up in my lap and enjoy her a.m.
scritch. In the evening as I watch tv
and knit she likes to get her p.m. scritch. She tolerates about ten minutes of this before forgetting that she’s
safe and biting the heck out of my arm. And
down she goes.

 

Boots is a black cat, with white paws and a tiny white patch
just on her chin. She has long white
whiskers and only one tooth. Mom and I
called her “Puppy” because no matter where I go in the house, she follows. She runs ahead to my room, or the
bathroom. She waits at the door when she
hears my car arrive in the carport. Mom
used to count the seconds, “one, two, three, four – FOUR” she’d call out as I
left her room in the evening. That’s how
many seconds before Puppy jumped down off Mom’s dresser to follow me out of her
room.

 

When Mom was in the hospital the week before she died, I
brushed her hair one afternoon. As I
brushed she said, “mo peez” just like her 20 month old granddaughter had said
after each bite of ice-cream I shared with her. When I asked after a few minutes if that were enough or she wanted a
little more, she said a little more and then, “You can call me Puppy.” The cat too always wants just a little more
petting.

 

Just after Mom died, the downpour of sorrow was
intense. It still has the unpredictability
of a spring rain. A little grey, a
little cold, a sudden dumping like buckets of warm drowning tears. The downpour has trickled off now, just
outside the windows. There’s no blue sky
yet this morning. But there probably
will be later in the day. Later, when I
go to the grocery store to by cat food and kitty litter, I will look up at the
sky and it will be blotchy with blue and grey and white, I imagine. I won’t need the umbrella, I suppose, but it’s
a good idea to wear a jacket with a hood.

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