Sunday, October 18, 2009

first night with Smokey Jo

I've got a week and a half to tame, or at least begin to socialize, a feral kitten of unknown age and unknown gender. This has become a fantastically larger undertaking than I had anticipated. (Although I would like to insert here that I did not know I was going to be acquiring a feral kitten, but sometimes these things just happen.) After a week and a half I get on a plane to Chile and the kitten is either an acclimated pet, or it goes back to the farmer and gets shot in the head. So, pressure's on.

It spent most of its first day shivering under the old dresser. We had cooked thanksgiving that day, a month or so early, since I'll be gone for the real thing, and I've got this thing for Holidays. I can't stand to miss them. Anyway, we had a bunch of people over and spent the evening drinking wine and champagne and eating all the good stuff, including these pecan tarts I made that would just break your heart if you could see them. One of the guests was Cassie, my proclaimed 'soul mate' since 7th grade, and the two of us spent the hours post-meal sitting in the guest room catching up. The kitten was at one point, quite mysteriously, sitting up on the bed when we walked in the room, and stayed remained there with us, at a considerable distance and casting furtive looks the whole time, for an hour or so. Other than that she was hiding under the dresser. Cass and I walked up into the field in cold and the dark, wearing our warmest winter jackets and admired the audacious, steely shine of the Northern stars. And then when everyone was gone, I sat near the kitten and read aloud from the entire Patagonia catalog, and then from The Tracker, and then I just talked with her.

I went to bed at 2am and found a despondent Hometeam waiting in my bed. I woke up at 5 to the little beast crying her head off. Back downstairs I went and read aloud from the Tracker. At first she shut up and listened, but after a few minutes she just cried right along anyway. She is a loud thing. Ear peircing howls. Eventually I gave up and trodded on upstairs again to sleep.

I know she or he or whatever is terrified and homesick and misses her mother and probably is going over and over in her mind that terrible moment where it stepped into the trap. It's hard not to be able to reach out and stroke it, an instinctual urge. It's a cute little thing, I mean for god sake's it a kitten, green saucer eyes and the tiny nose and the whole deal, but right now it's just mean and unholy.

We've named it Smokey Jo.

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