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￭ s m i l e
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2010-02-07 | |
Winter, 2006. My old kitty Myla died early in the day. The death took place in the next-door room while I unknowing slept in mine. I was grown weak for the two days that she slowly died; I had grown weak being benumbed for tears, for, listen to me, just listen to me, only when she stopped mealing did I realize she was dying. I don’t remember what I did that day, I just recall: while standing in the semi-dark corridor of our flat I was howling and sobbing out: “She’s smiling! Why is she smiling?”
Wiping her eyes, my mother, trying to speak, replied: “It’s… the bare… teeth.”
“No,” I objected, “her little teeth cannot be seen! She’s sma-a-iling!”
We put her on a big pillow at the foot of my grandmother’s bed. We covered her stomach, disfigured with the illness. It was breast cancer. She was lying on her side; her white forepaws, her white shoulder, her little white head with the black spot in the shape of a black bonnet were visible. She was beautiful as usual.
“Have you gone mad?!” mother asked to me in the corridor, “You look at her! Do you want to dream about her at night?” She herself never entered my granny’s room to look at our dead kitty.
I replied: “Yes, we look at her, we admire her the day long. She is lying there like an angelet.”
We had to wait until twilight to burry my kitty outside at the window of our flat so that nobody could see what we would do, so that no children or person could dig her out for their own purposes. Thus, she lay on my granny’s bed till the evening. It was January; it grew dark at five. Now it was time to take the road. We had to put her in a plastic pocket – there were not little coffins for our pets in the country I lived in. Now I took her packed in my arms, and pressed her against my body – I deemed she was stiff and cold, and yes, she was cool to the touch, but… listen, please, listen to me, she was not stiff – rigor mortis must have finished, maybe. I did not know, but she was so soft, so pliant, like living – and here, all of a sudden, when I pressed her against my body, she became even softer and… she pressed back against my belly. What it was? I don’t know. Maybe it was a miracle? Her last miracle here above. It was as though a child pressed against me. Tenderness itself. Endless tenderness to me. It was unusual, immensely pleasant; nobody had caressed me in this way. Or, may be, she did not to leave her home? She begged me not to take her outside? I said: “She pressed against me! I won’t be able to let her go!”
My granny said: “Well. That’s that. From now on I’ll be thinking that we’ve buried her while she was alive.”
But she was not alive. In this way, pressing her against my belly, I carried my kitty outside and I did not let her go while my mother dug the grave in the frozen snow. We buried Myla in the snow to re-burry her in springtime when the soil would thaw out. For the next several months the scent of dogs and humans’ footprints appeared at her grave several times, but nobody found her. When the springtime had come, we buried her in the soil.
“Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.
Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.
Peace, peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.”
(from Requiescat, by Oscar Wilde)
And so, my dream that I had two nights ago has come true: it’s happened, it was death indeed. On the 4th of January, early in the day I lost my kitty. She is no more. It was cancer. My Myla, my dear darling, you, so beautiful, are no more. Why? Your little white paws, your black ears, your beautiful long tail, your lovely white face, your white whiskers. One of the loveliest creatures in the world, most sinful, holiest, my child, my mother, nature itself, you are no more! Your Will to Live, your illness, your pain, the cold winter, the frozen soil, my pain. Pain. Nothing but pain. Why? You could do everything. You can do nothing now, and neither can I. Do you remember… Do you remember me? Remember me, please, dear darling… Do you remember our mornings, when it was darkness outside the window, when I was at my computer, and you were relaxing on your pillow on the bed nearby… Only you and me. How you loved life! How you loved your kittens! You, my Cleopatra, queen of cats! Your illness destroyed your beautiful body; the fate prepared me for your death. You lost a part of your beauty before you died. With it my loss would be more horrible, horrible, horrible! It is horrible as it is. Your solemn departure was awful. You were ill for several months; you kept silent for the two last days. You were old enough to die, and yet you were a kitten to me, my little, little kitten. Forgive me! You did not deify me in your life, you deified yourself. It’s so good, it is, to be so. I have a deity: my little home deity is you, my sweet one. Sleep, my baby! I worship you in my heart. We are pagans; we deify each other.
Lara Biuts © 2006
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