My neighbor’s feisty young cat attacked my old girl numerous times over several years. I have scars on my arm from where the offender jumped up and clawed at me as I threw water on the battle to break up a fight. Our time outside was guarded and tense, never knowing when an attack might come. Vet bills racked up.
Christmas Eve 2012. I pulled into the driveway at 11:30 pm after attending a candlelight service. The bad girl was sitting in the slushy snow at the end of the driveway; she stared at me solemnly. In the spirit, I wished her a Merry Christmas and told her to go home where it was warm.
She disappeared two days later and hasn’t been seen since.
The weather is warm now and my girl and I frequently perch in the sun on a lounge chair. But I can’t totally relax, my nerves on habitual alert. I feel angry that our lives were so disrupted, and I feel sad that my 21-year-old girl had to endure pain and fear. Still, I pray for the terror-inducing feline – may she be warm in someone else’s home, not torn and bloody from being ravaged by a fox. She’s a holy creature, just like we all are.
Be sad. Be mad. But please don’t let hate and fear settle into your heart.
(This piece is included in Great & Mighty Things: Outsider Art
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through 6.9.13)