I always struggle in deciding how much to reveal. Whether I want to lay down hands, or keep the cards close to my heart. It’s even stranger because so many people read this space I’ve created, and with that, I’m constantly aware of how much to reveal, and by degrees. I will say this: these past few months have been dark, unimaginably so, and as I told someone close to me yesterday: I always fear love because it’s inextricably tied to loss. We drove around Brooklyn, and she was quiet for a time, and then she said, you make love sound so hard. Love is the easy part. The circumstances around that love, events above and within — that’s the tough stuff. In other words, I need to detangle the notions of love and loss. I have to realize the two words are not mirror images of one another.
I’ve also realized, for better or worse, I need a routine. I need constants. I need the same breakfast every morning with little variation. I need a workout that’s pretty consistent. And although I’m exhilarated about the tremendous leap I’ve made, in designing a life of my own choosing, where art, work and love play everywhere and in between, I haven’t been good about creating some rhythm to my days.
So when you have uncertainty colliding with loss, the world as I know it can get extremely dark, and there’s no way I can back to that country. Not as a tourist, someone passing through, or someone who takes temporary shelter in a home of old habits. Believe me when I tell you this: I cannot go back.
Yesterday, an old friend was determined to bring in all the light. We drove for seven hours and thought about how I can create a new country. And then I made the most remarkable decision: I decided to give a cat a home.
My friend drove me to BARC Animal Shelter in Williamsburg, and we found ourselves surrounded by chickens who act like cats, prized poodles who’ve bred to an excessive degree, and scores of charming kittens and cats. Naturally, I cleaved to the ones who looked like my Sophie, and my friend gently pried me away, told me that I can’t do that, it’s not right, and why not look over here at some of the playful tabbies in the cages.
Then I met Felix. A year-old tiger tabby, Felix has already been twice abandoned, and was looking for a quiet, safe and loving home. We played for a bit, and I loved that his personality was markedly different than Sophie’s. Twenty-four hours later, he’s home, curled up next to me, falling asleep at my feet. I’m nervous around him, skittish, it’s like we’re two strangers sniffing one another out, trying to determine if this is all real.
Seven years ago my Sophie saved me in the smallest of ways. She gave me order, focus, a need to love and care tremendously for someone else, and I will forever be humbled by that — the enormity of her quiet love. And I feel Felix is much of the same. He’s playful, curious, caring, and wants to keep close. As I type this, he’s lying next to me, purring, sometimes mewing, often swatting at my finger as I type.
Suddenly, there is a little door. Open it. There’s another door. Step through it. There’s another door. Keep going. I’ll find my way to this new country, having stepped into the old one far too long, and in this new place love will be easy.