Metaphorically, true friendship is... a good hair day, the perfect cup of tea - no red lights on the way to work, and the first night of sleep on freshly washed sheets. Socially, it's a smile at the caller ID, a long conversation full of honesty, and empathy - and the ability to pick up where you left off... after two hours, two days, or four months. Emotionally, it's companionable silence where words are not necessary, laughing at the ridiculous when it is, and prayers in - and through, the pain. Essentially, true friendship is the ability to be your utterly weird, and wonderful self, and feel perfectly and completely at home. Celebrating all of the wonderful people who let me be my weird little self, but especially my friend Candy, who is having a birthday today, and who is learning to love tea as much as I do. 🙂
Some would say today is Groundhog's Day But naturally, like anyone - in the know - I realize that it is really Bill Murray Day. And on Bill Murray Day I think of Bill Murray, (naturally) and how much joy he's brought to my life - through laughter, and yes, even through tears (comedians are great at drama - timing you know). But then I thought, how sad & funny that my very good friend, (Bill Murray) has no idea we're friends. 😦 He knows not that he has traveled with me, through my life - the uPS and DOwns. In my own Groundhog Day - Bill Murray is a townsperson, moving blithely along, clueless as to his impact on my every day life. (Alright, not every day, this is just a metaphor) And then I thought: I wonder how many other Bill Murray's there are (just one, but stay with me) walking around, impacting lives, never knowing they have a whole - secret world - of fans cheering them on. Not super fans, not stalker fans, just regular folks, wishing them well. (I know there are haters of Bill Murray, but just move on quietly, this page of verses is not for you). And then finally I thought, (who knew Bill Murray was such a deep topic?) What if we could tell our friends, near and f a r, famous or family, how much they meant to us? If you feel you absolutely must, you may use a separate example other than Bill Murray (but I don't know why you would). Whatever you do, be sure to tell your Bill Murray (or equal substitute) you love them, and that you wish them a lifetime of repeated happiness (in joy, not in a time-loop) in exchange for the positive impact they have made on you. Bill Murray Day should be a day of gratitude (solemn nod). I think he would like that, he might even say, "So I got that going for me, which is nice." That sounds like my friend, (Bill Murray) to me.
Three and a half years ago, my beloved black cat Sammy passed away from kidney failure. He was only three years old himself. The day after his traumatic death, I walked into the Humane Society and said simply, “I need to hold a black cat.”
The women there were very kind and accommodating to this grief-stricken girl and her strange request. Soon after, I began a years long friendship with them, and the rest of the furry residents of the Kitty Kottage.
A couple months after I began coming by regularly, an adult male black cat was dropped on their porch. The women arrived at work in the morning only to find him in a pet carrier with a note.
“Friendly neighborhood cat. Keep the carrier.”
Whether he was truly just a “neighborhood cat” or not, we’ll never know, but he was christened “Cruiser” by the staff, since he was allegedly found “cruising” around the neighborhood.
Shortly after his arrival, as I sat in their floor playing with some of the kittens, he sauntered in. He sized me up, climbed into my lap, flipped over on his back like a baby, and began to purr.
“It looks like you’ve been picked!” one of the staff members exclaimed. Indeed, it did.
Every visit would see the same behavior. The staff informed me that as an adult male black cat his chances of being adopted were slim to none. I slowly began to realize that I needed to take this enchanting creature home. That while he could never replace Sammy, he might be able to help heal the hurt, and the gaping hole left by Sammy’s death.
I brought him home in July of 2013, along with a few other cats, whose story I will tell another day. I renamed him Simon, for the character Simon Birch in the movie of the same name. He was small, but mighty.
From that day forward, our only separation was when I left the house for work. If I exercised, he walked with me. One of our favorite spots was a grove of trees out front of the house, where he would show off by sprinting up one of the trees and then posing dramatically before jumping down again. If he got tired of walking, I picked him up and carried him.
When I worked from home, he slept on top of a brown pillow I had out for him. When I showered, he stayed in the bathroom to make sure no boogeymen were there to attack me. He slept next to me, sat in my lap when I watched tv, kept me company when I was sick (which lately, had been often), posed for numerous Instagram photos, always came running when I called him, and when he heard the garage door open, I would walk in to find him waiting for me outside the door. And if, by some odd chance, he hadn’t heard the garage, I’d find him on my side of the bed, curled up next to my pillow.
His antics were so adorable to me (as any cat lover would say of their own furry child) that I created a hashtag called #SimonSays to more easily access all of his photos and the memories we had created.
He never judged, never said I looked fat, never called me stupid, never minded my moods, and most important; loved me fiercely and exclusively. Despite his semi-permanent frown, he allowed me to cradle him like a baby, and would purr contentedly.
He was also one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known. His words may have been silent, but we talked all the time, and understood each other perfectly. He healed my heart in ways I couldn’t imagine, and the only thing he deprived me of was more time.
I wanted years and years with him. I wanted more cuddle time, more adventures, more companionship. More of everything. More of him.
I didn’t get it.
Simon was in my life for approximately three years and six months. This morning, Christmas Eve morning, I found him where he loved to be most in the world, just outside our grove of trees. There were no marks on him, no signs of struggle, no blood. Just my sweet, sweet friend lying in the grass.
I still have no idea what happened, but I think I know when it did. I getting ready for the day in my bathroom when I heard a noise of distress that sounded exactly like Simon’s “voice.” It sounded like he was right under my window. I was so alarmed, that I ran and looked outside to make sure he was okay. I didn’t see him. He was hidden by the hill of grass. I found him about 20 minutes later.
Today was the day Simon says Goodbye. And my heart, while twisted with pain and inconsolable with grief, is so, so grateful that I knew him. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be days filled with family, happiness, love, and joy. Why did I lose my best friend on Christmas Eve? Why him? Why now?
It’s not fair.
But. That’s the one thing Life always promised. Never to be fair.
Goodbye, my sweet, feisty, adventurous companion. Thank you for coming into my life at the perfect time, and bringing me such love and joy. You knew me and chose to love me, and every day you let me know how much.
I miss you more than I can possibly express.
Today I would like to take a moment to wish one of my faithful readers (and one of my favorite people!) a very Happy Birthday.
Nancye is the true definition of the word “Lady.” She is constantly teaching me new and important things. Things such as the proper way to set a table, how to dress, the value of tea parties, fresh cut flowers, nail polish, universal kindness, and trying something new. She loves her Ipad and my Mom is hoping to convince her to try riding a bike this summer!
When she answers the phone, she makes you feel as though she is delighted to hear from you, and only you. She also teaches me that there truly is no age limit on friendship. She is warm, kind, compassionate, strong, and beautiful.
I won’t reveal her age, for she also taught me a lady never tells such a thing, but I’d like to say how much I love her and hope she is having a wonderful day!
If I’m chewing my fingernails, it must be a day for design. I had the bad habit of chewing my nails when I was a child, but managed to break myself of it long ago. That is, unless I’m designing something. As I stated before, I don’t have my Mom’s talent for illustration. I have to make do with a limited computer program and a stunted artistic mind. I started off today with nice long(ish) nails. No longer.
After a whirlwind weekend of a reunion party with a cast mates from a former show, and two days of auditions and casting for our new show, today was to be spent working on the manuscript again. Except that it wasn’t.
“If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.”– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest.
Today’s weather has been a gift.
Four years ago, on October 2 and 3 of 2010, I was part of the production team shooting two scenes for my very first independent feature film, No Lost Cause. The weather was abysmal. Overcast skies tinted everything a pale blue-grey, and the air had moved beyond crisp and autumnal into the slicing cold of deepest winter.
The scene called for our actors to play basketball, while wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. The crew was in heavy overcoats and wrapped in layers and these two men were left with the acting job of their young lives: warm.
There were many shooting days, but these two stand out because they were the absolute worst weather we experienced, and October 3 is my Grandfather’s birthday. Which is why I notice the weather today and why I am particularly reveling in it’s balmy breeze. I’ve left the window open nearly all day, and I’ve made the time to sit on my front porch and read…soaking in the last possible heat before another rumored long and difficult winter begins.