Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don Juan Seamus De Marco, or Mr. Personality (Pt.5) An Unkind Cut (Conclusion)

The howling and caterwauling began daily at sunset. Female cats wandered up to our door, as did older males spoiling for a fight.

If I tried to pull Seamus away and close the door or even the back window where he sometimes called, I found myself holding an angry ball of spitting, gyrating, clawed fur.

A few days of angry silence and howling cat psychosis after the whole mess began, I found myself nursing a seriously slashed forearm as Seamus walked around the house hissing.

I had corralled him and brought him in just as he tried to make an escape, and gotten my arm both clung onto and bunny-kicked for my efforts.

"Fucking shit, that burns," I said, watching four ragged red lines explode into foam as I poured hydrogen peroxide over them.

"Uh huh," Marcie said, startling me a bit.

She stood with her purse slung over her shoulders, looking smug and smiling, biting her lower lip. "What are we going to do about this, Frank? Do you understand now? He's a beast and he'll just get meaner and crazier until he gets neutered or he runs off."

I shook my head and wiped my arm with a towel, cleaning the wound carefully. "Marcie, that's not my point."

"What's your point, that you want him to live a shitty, short life and die of disease or by getting hit by a car as he wanders around?"

"I would just like to see him have a litter of kittens, which I know Cammy is going to have Kazi have before she fixes her."

"Oh, really?" she asked, glaring. "So you and Cammy are breeding kittens now? Is that it? Well, why don't you just go sleep with Cammy, then, since you two are living out your lust for each other through the cats, Frank. Asshole!"

I watched her leave, bewildered. I shook my head and heard something at my feet. Seamus was crouched there, licking up blood dripping through the towel. When I tried to clean it up, he hissed.

I decided it had gone far enough and when she came back from the store, I brought it up to arrange terms of surrender.

"Okay, honey," I said, walking in and sitting on the bed. "You can get him fixed. I think I can find a place that will do it for a low cost or even free..."

"Frank! You are NOT going to have me be the one he associates this with! You have to go with me!" she demanded, yelling and fuming.

I put my hand on her lap. "I don't really need to," I said. "Why does this have to be about me going with you now?"

Really, I felt I had been jumped on enough over my admittedly foolish response. But where I had not associated my personal masculinity with the situation before, it was now firmly in play and I was determined to get my way.

"I am the disciplinarian, I am the responsible one, and I am the one taking away his food all the time," she said. "I am tired of being the one he has to watch out for. You need to be the bad one with me once in a while."

I considered it and then I considered the operation. Though called minor and referred to casually, cats and dogs do not get vasectomies when they are neutered, castrated. But she was right. I agreed.

On the day she took him in, though, I had school and exams. She let me off the hook. When they got home, he ran into a corner, then under the bed, then eventually ventured out, avoiding us both.

When Marcie and I made love that night, I had to admit a little sense of guilt and a creepiness to it as he watched, I imagined accusingly, from atop a pile of warm clothes.

Seamus was sedentary and already overeating by the end of the first week. It took him days not to avoid us or hiss. The other cats stop coming around. I was worried his personality would change drastically.

But one night, as the sun set, he began caterwauling out of our back window. It was music to my ears.

"Seamus! Shut up! Jesus!" Marcie screamed, cutting him off for all of three seconds.

All was well. And there was a bonus. Cammy moved out, confiding in me before she did that Kazi's first litter was coming. She also seemed to think that she had only had that one tryst.

I neglected to say anything to Marcie, of course.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Five days

Five days from now will mean one half year from losing her. My weight is down over 50 pounds, but I feel the heaviness of my heart increasing.

I feel it as I run into the night, hoping to outpace my sorrows with steps and heartbeats.

I feel it as I ponder my work and the meaningless struggle to procure money for children who are sneered at by selfish gray people who would see them imprisoned before they were educated.

I feel it as I consider the future with women ahead of me, in all their sadness or greed or heartless demand for comforting falsity.

I feel it as I gaze into a picture of beautiful blue eyes and know that a great and perfect love is gone from me, perhaps forever.

I feel it as I try to gather the courage and the motivation to pour out her life in verse and chapter as I know it, and her memorial as I realize it.

I feel it as I listen to my body for the little signs that say I will not live to honor her, to immortalize her, and to be known to have been hers at all, except as a rumor that dies with the last that have heard it from some reverent voice.

And I cannot feel so much so often and so deeply anymore without someone, and I feel my greatest grief when I admit I know she was right, and I must love to live, and I must live to love again.

And I wish she could live, so all of that, all of these weights, could feel so much less of a burden and a stone in me, and so much more a matter of my grateful love for her, as it always had been.

But at least my shoulders are broad and my back is unbowed, and much of that is her, alive in me and insistent that I carry her, and it, on.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That last week comes back

Every once in a while, sitting here so close to where she left us and the great pain of those last hours behind, I am overwhelmed in my memories by her prsence. This is one of those overwhelming nights.

We are in the half-year anniversary of the last week I had with Marcie, and though i have had some joy in my life and made plans to honor her, I have been stricken this evening and am having a hard time with it all. No posts about cats and arguments tonight, folks.

Though I see that there is a possibility of happiness without her alive and near me, it is at times like these that the loss of her feels like a gaping wound that will never quite heal, but simply close up and open once in a while. I'll be back when it closes again.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Don Juan Seamus De Marco, or Mr. Personality (Pt.4) An Unkind Cut (R RATED!)

Some arguments are just not winnable, and further more are fraught with potential wounds. Marcie and I locked horns over Seamus's neutering, and it got ugly fast.

"Honey, we need to get someone to take us to the vet so he can be neutered," Marcie said. "He's getting aggressive with us, he's running off and now he's, well... he's fucking Cammy's kitten!"

Now, I knew that Seamus should be neutered, but I had hoped to see him father one litter of kittens first. He is a beautiful cat and quite clever for a feline, in my admittedly doting opinion.

"Honey, I agree but let's just make sure he has one set with Kazi and then we can..." I was stopped cold as her hands snapped to her hips, she leaned forward, her eyes narrowed and she bit her lower lip, nodding.

"This is some macho bullshit from you, isn't it?" she asked, smiling as she went right for the rhetorical jugular. "Well, well, well. It looks like Mr. Politically Correct wants to protect the right of males everywhere to father kids."

"That's not it, I just think he's a smart and a cute cat and they would have..." I was interrupted again.

"Oh, you know, this makes so much sense now," she said. "You asking me last month if I wanted kids and then not saying anything when I said I didn't know," she bit her lip, hips still cocked, then leaned back and flipped her hair, crossing her arms.

"So Seamus is your dick now?" she asked, her eyes lit up a little as she mocked me.

"No, that has nothing to do with it," I said. "If he has one set of kittens, what's the problem? He has one set and he losses his rocks and he lives a long life. Why should we have the right to not let his genes stay in the species?"

"The species?" she asked, shaking her head. "You are such an ass, Frank. Such! An ASS! He's a fucking cat, he's not an endangered species. Just admit you see him as a metaphor for your own manhood. I can accept that."

I was getting a little angry, so I finally wallowed into the mud. "Sure, if you'll admit that that's what he is for you."

"What? I have no idea what you mean," she said. "He is my manhood? That doesn't make any sense at all. It's stupid."

"Is it?" I asked "Isn't Seamus just a proxy for all the men you hate and don't trust, whose balls you want to cut off because you've been hurt? Will his little kitty balls getting scooped out before he breeds make you feel better about your mistakes?"

Her eyes went wide with fury and she shook her head as she went beet red. I stuck my tongue out at her and she stepped in close. She jabbed her finger at me "You need to get over it and help me get this done, Frank. I am not arguing with you."

She shouldered past me and slammed the bathroom door. Seamus looked on wild-eyed from the door, hoping I would err and he could escape again. I did not, and I realized he didn't care about all of these off-point arguments.

He just wanted to get laid.

Despite my regret, I had pride and stubbornness to serve, so the argument was not over. We had just set up our initial positions, actually.

But as Seamus began howling and caterwauling at the door and the world of cat ass he imagined beyond it, scratching at it incessantly, I already regretted digging in.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Don Juan Seamus De Marco, or Mr. Personality (Pt.3) Kazi changes everything

For several months the most entertaining event in our world and the complex denizens' was the Cat Races. Kazi and Seamus raced around the yards, pouncing, tackling, frolicking and generally being kittens.

But at the end of the day, a curious ritual was performed. The kittens would stop chasing each other and hop the fence (or clamber through its portholes), joining Dodger and Tatiana in the vacant lot beyond.

Usually sitting in a loose formation and watching the sun set over the decrepit El Cortez parking structure, or perhaps the tantalizing shadows of the fat pigeons walking its edge, the cats would sit silently as the dark crept in.

It was usually the time to get Seamus inside, because if night fell, he was uncatchable and wild.

"Frank, get Seamus in before it gets dark," Marcie would call out from the doorway. "I don't want to have to chase him with you."

But Marcie understood the importance of what she called "the catting hour," and simply made sure he came in after making his appearance among his pals, which, as a crew, she referred to as "The Meadow Cats."

Seamus had a habit of slipping under buildings, sometimes coming out with a huge, bloated paw from a sting or bite, sometimes with an unidentified rodent, occasionally one half-dessicated or putrid.

It was not a good scene to have him loose at night.

On occasion he would disappear as we pulled down laundry or tinkered with dinner in the house. Hours of searching later, we would find him going back and forth between the meadow and another yard, or the back houses.

But when that disappearing act became all too common, at about 8 months, Cammy joined the search. Kazi was disappearing, too, and long before the sunset approached.

We did not put two and two together because of all the kitten-like play. But we didn't have to. One afternoon, in the middle of the day, I went looking for Seamus iin the yard. I found him by following a growl.

"Oh, geez," I said. "Seamus! what the hell! knock it off!"

He had Kazi's head pinned and it appeared he was doing the natural thing, which is, of course, to mate with her. Marcie came around the corner, saw it, and ran away.

No way was I going to interfere. I just waited for nature to take its (inter)course.

Not Marcie. She came back and dumped a bucket of water on them, eliciting hisses and a rapid separation.

"Nice, Frank, just stand there," she said. "Catch him before he screws her again! God!"

Seamus turned on me as I tried to catch him, gashing me deeply. Three hours later, with Kazi safe in her house from her initial flight, we caught Seamus, who growled and fought the whole way home.

"Alright," Marcie fumedd. "That is enough. He is wandering, he is getting more aggressive, and now he is trying to impregnate Kazi. He's getting neutered."

Kazi had changed everything. What a fight this one was, though I knew Marcie was right and Seamus should be fixed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don Juan Seamus De Marco, or Mr. Personality (Pt.2) Meeting Kazi

After meeting his closest neighbors, life was good for Seamus. He went out for an hour or so several times a week, usually with Marcie and the laundry, jumping around and attempting to climb the sheets.

There were wrinkles, such as his obstinacy about slipping off any collar, flea or otherwise, causing us havoc with pest control. Otherwise everything was working out well. He was a happy kitten and he had Dodger and Tatiana for company at times.

He had begun settling into being a mixed outside-inside kitty and he had even gotten his own territory, a stairwell to our neighbor, Cammy's, front door. It was prime real estate. It was high up and came with a treat source.

Cammy, a cat lover, had no cat of her own. She spoiled Seamus endlessly with snacks and tuna. Marcie was immediately suspicious of her.

"She's going to steal him, honey, I know it," she said. "She is totally in love with him and he is going to disappear when she moves away."

As irrational and over the top as that thought was, it was not unheard of for cats to adopt multiple families or households that chose to favor them with food. So, it was a great relief to us when Cammy appeared one afternoon to introduce a new friend.

It was a great moment for Seamus, too.

We are told that cats do not have romance in their relations. Cats, we are told, have a simple range of instinctual reactions only loosely analogous to our own feelings.

But Seamus, I assert nonetheless, fell instantly in love with Kazi, Cammy's new girl, a little calico kitten.

When Cammy opened her door that day, Seamus ran up the steps with his usual aplomb. But when he saw another kitten up there, he froze and slinked upward slowly.

"Mow!" said the little puff of spit and vinegar, landing a spread paw on his nose and making him back off, one paw off the ground as if pointing.

There was a tense, tail-twitching standoff on the porch as I came up the steps. Kazi kept batting at Seamus as he came close, Seamus swatted back. Cammy looked on.

As I pet him, Kazi became curious at his purring. He raised a paw and she rolled onto her back on one of the steps. He instantly darted in.

"Seamus!" I shouted, catching his attention only a bit.

He sniffed Kazi's foot, then pawed at her, rolling her aside a bit, sniffing her back and ribs a bit as she tried to push him away. Then he licked her, just as I tried to pick him up.

"Mow!" she protested, both her paws pushing on his head and driving his face effectively into her belly.he continued to clean her.

I tried to pick him up but when I did, I noted he was purring and let him be, stroking his head and smiling.

"He likes her!" Cammy said. "Oh, that's adorable."

Marcie came up the steps and watched. "Cuuuuuute," she said, kneeling down in her skirt and petting him.

I decided the scene was entirely too "fluffy bunny" for me and walked down. I was not alone long.

Seamus flew down the steps, hair raised and tail puffed, skidding in a turning stop as Kazi pursued in a hopping gait. He turned his head a little excitedly, then tore off the other way. Kazi tried to follow and lost her footing.

Seamus returned and tackled her, then rolled away and darted off again, ears fully forward. It was the beginning of an hour-long frolic.

For the first time ever, we slept in peace that night. Seamus was too exhausted to attack our feet or yell at us on the bed. He simply plopped at the end of it and, I imagine, considered his boon, a lively playmate up a favorite set of stairs.

Later, she was much more, to Marcie and my chagrin.