|Niño & Niña|
A niñera is Spanish for a babysitter. A male babysitter would be niñero. And of course my male cat is Niño and his female sister Niña.
These last couple of months I have been observing them under a new light.
In my recent past I was surrounded by people with stability. One was my Rosemary. This so-called artist could find refuge in her cool logic demeanour.
I had two writer friends, now dead, Sean Rossiter and MarkBudgen who always gave me measured responses free of any kind of hysterics to anything I might have asked them. I would, of course have never dared play poker with them as their face expressions expressed very little.
There was another stable person in my life who somehow also reflected a human warmth beyond just cold stability. This was my mentor at St. Edward’s High School in Austin, Texas, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.
Before he died a few years ago I mentioned the name of my troubled granddaughter. I believe this was the first time where he did not mask his emotion, “Don’t tell her to do anything!”
These last few months my melancholy about my now dead Rosemary has become more intense. Distractions such as meeting with people for coffee work for a while for the distractions that they are. The moment I am alone again I am hit by an existential angst and I ask myself, “Why her? Why not me?”
On Thursdays my youngest daughter Hilary visits me for dinner and cook her a good one. I then take her home to Burnaby. These last weeks the darkness as I drive back around 8 is brightened by the fact that my two cats will be waiting for me. They will get their treats around 8:30 and then when I go to bed after my bath they will come as close to me as they can and even more so when I turn off the lights.
And in the morning they let me sleep.
I find that the single most important task for me every day is to take Niño for his walk around the block. As soon as I say, “Walk, Walk! (like Rosemary used to say and she would call our Cruze the Car, Car) he is ready. He is a cat who understands what routine is.
But ultimately it is his face (handsome it is) that reminds me of Sean Rossiter and Mark Budgen.
Niño’s face of stability and his siter’s constant affection for me have made me realize that they indeed are taking care of me.
Niño is a niñero and Niña is my niñera. Is that possible?
An ode to a cat - Pablo Neruda