Monday, May 21, 2012

Ghost Heart

They conspired to put me in a cage and let me die. My poor, poor, Tiger, the Ersatzanna.

I always weep when I remember what must have happened to you, how you must have cried for help. And he sat there, no more than 20 feet away, and played video games, feeling himself powerful as his avatar crept around toting a machine gun and you died.
Your dear Archie must have come to you and meowed too, he must have tried to get that man's attention and he ignored him too, that loathsome man, the father of my children.
My grandmother was dying that day, and that’s where I was, at her side saying goodbye. It was expected that she would go, but I lost you too, and that should not have happened.

He couldn’t stop hurting. He had to hurt me and I had only wanted to help him. Helpless me, I wanted to help, but he wanted to hurt.
How he could have sat there and not known that you were dying painfully is unimaginable to me. Some part of him knew. He wanted to hurt me more, so he hurt you.
I am so sorry my poor Tiger, little Ersatzanna. He is dead now too, the father of my children, but if I could choose to have just one of you restored to life, I would choose you and not him. Children need kittens more than drunkard fathers.

I felt sorry for him when he shot himself in the head, I felt sorry because he had been hurting, and that’s why he hurt others, I felt sorry that he had suffered, that I could never help him.
But I was never sorry that he was gone. That is one point upon which I can agree with him; the world is better without him. I am better without him.

The world is worse without you, my heart.

I set the cage out there. I did it. My father convinced me it was the only way to protect you.
The neighbors' black cat had bitten you twice and almost killed you. My father bid me to put out the cage for the black cat.
In the morning my grandmother was dying and I forgot to bring in the cage before going to say goodbye. The father of my children did not come with us to say goodbye to my grandmother. It was an uncommonly hot day for so late in the fall.
You wandered into the cage they said would protect you. It killed you. And he sat 20 feet away letting you die.

After I screamed Tiger, after they grabbed hold of my arms to hold me back while I screamed and the unborn baby in my womb covered her ears and screamed too, after they held me up by my arms and I screamed louder and the other baby, the one you helped me to nurse, stared wide eyed and silent, after I screamed and they tried, as always, to silence me, after that Tiger, I promised that I would never listen to my father again.
And I knew, after he, the father of my children, let you die in the cage my father had bidden me to set, I knew that was what was in store for me. My agony would be prolonged by indifference, my pleas would fall forever on apathetic ears.
I would be caged and killed bit by bit. Just as it had happened to you Tiger, my heart.

I never said goodbye to you. I don’t even remember what they did with your body.
So I dream that you’ve come back, that you’re there playing with your Archie or running alongside the overgrown mint, streaking past a window.
I am overjoyed to see you so, as you were, as you would still be if you had not gone in my place, little Ersatzanna.
My Tiger, ghost of my heart, I see you rushing along the shadowy edges of my dreams, but I cannot touch you, cannot scoop you up, cannot call you back into the house for safe keeping against the night.
I cannot press you to my chest where you belong safe and warm, small brave Tigress.
So I watch you through the window, stalking through the shadows as dusk deepens, as forgetfulness fades and I remember everything.

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