The things we carry . . .

May 6, 2010

I am in Paris. My first evening here I washed some clothing in the bathroom sink; it was time. I’d been holding out on a pair of silk pajamas. It’s true, dear reader, I had not washed them since I left home, but as you will see, there is a reason.

The first night I stayed in a hotel in Portland, Oregon, before I caught a flight early the next morning to Rome. That night I pulled from my suitcase the silk pajamas and slipped into them. Noticing a stain on the front, I brushed at it with my hand, but it would not come off. Odd, these are brand new . . .

I turned on a light and inspected. There, as plain as if the material were the floor and my kitty Flynn had just dashed in the door from playing in the rain and mud, were a series of paws prints dashing across the front of my pajamas. Instantly, I saw him in his happy passion for life, banging his little nose at my bedroom window to come in—who cares about doors?

Sitting at my desk and computer I would routinely swivel to the left, slide the window open, and in Flynn would dart, usually across my desk, keyboard, or lap and onto the floor, or with a bound of delight over me and onto the desk and whatever papers might be spread there. His lust for life charmed me below all my routine admonishments; he must have felt this.

Later, after a snack, he would ricochet around the room seeking attention, climbing shelves, tables, whatever presented itself as reminiscent of a tree branch, fence, railing. Sometimes drawers were left open by inattention on my part, and sometimes Flynn climbed these drawers to explore the closet. My black silk pajamas rested on top of a pile of clothing in a drawer, waiting to be packed for this journey. I did not know then, of course, that those sacred, muddy footprints would be the last evidence of his short, joyous life, and so I simply could not wash them away. They went to bed with me each night for weeks, until through sheer love I wore them away onto bed sheets across Europe.

Last night I attended mass at Notre Dame Cathedral and I said a prayer for all things lost: my mother, Nancy, and my companion, Flynn.

You can travel the world dear reader, but you carry your losses with you.
When I return to America, filled with the richness of this experience, it will still be to an empty house lined with the possessions my mother loved, but not my mother, and to a daily life devoid of my magic little friend.

Magic Jumping Kitty: