The Hat and the Cats
Today I found a flash drive my father gave me in the sink, while I was washing dishes. It seemed very strange – what was it doing in the sink? How did it get there? Momentarily, I was distressed: it was a tiny thumb drive, a broken one my father had given me. It used to be on my keychain but the then, the little loop that held it there broke… and I’d glued it back together twice in an effort to keep the special flash drive that dad gave me on my keychain, because it reminded me of him when I was at school. My October book readings were on the flash drive.
Not were, but are…
They are on the flash drive, because miraculously, despite being in the sink with the soap and the bubbles, the flash drive works.
I put it in my purse.
Impulse took me over back in December. It was an impulse buy: the goofy, over sized Christmas hats with the elf ears or saying “Santa’s Helper”. I even got myself one… but I forgot to wrap it, so it didn’t make it over to my dad’s house for Christmas Eve, where my dad and my nieces were putting on green and red hats. My dad’s hat had elf ears on it – like Spock ears.
I took the pictures on my dad’s iPad and I said, when I saw them, “my dad looks like an elf”. He was growing thinner, and more and more frail. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the last day I would see him where he would be fully able to interact with me and the rest of the family. By the time I would see him again, on New Year’s Eve, he would be asleep most of the time. He would be sleeping, and I would take a photo that said “Dad is sleeping.”
Dad is sleeping now. Now, my father is gone.
But I found the hat today – the one I had, that looks just like the one he had, the one he wears in the photos of our last Christmas Eve with daddy, and I found it and I grabbed it and held it and slept with it. I slept and I dreamed of my relatives who had passed away. I dreamed I was with my father, looking at a photo album of photos of his mother and sister and my mom’s mother and father. And when I woke up, I put on the hat.
My dad looked like an elf on Christmas Eve. That’s how I chose to remember him.
Both of our cats seem to know I am mourning. Both of the cats are sleeping on the bed with me, as I desperately clutch at a hat that reminds me of my father. The girl cat sleeps by my feet and the boy cat sleeps on my legs. Boy is he heavy. They don’t even like each other, but they are getting along for the moment. Two cats and a hat on a bed.
Even now, as I type, two cats sit next to me on the futon.
My dad loved his cat Miranda, but now my niece will take care of her. The night my father died, Miranda hid under the couch until the morticians opened my dad’s bedroom door.. then she flew into the room, looked at and sniffed my dad and turned around and hauled ass out of there, back into the living room under the couch.
The last photo I took of Dad and Miranda was on Christmas Eve. Miranda was yawning and it looks like she’s winking.
And on Facebook I posted the following:
Today is a day of doing chores… of life slowly attempting to return to normal, although it is a different normal, a normal with a big hole in the middle of it where my daddy used to be. Dishes are being washed today, bills are being paid… all of these things we put off as we scrambled to deal with a death in the family, are being remembered: the normal pace of life, but with something different.
Every little chore is being handled with a lot more tenderness. Every phone call seems to end with a lot more I love yous. Everyone is being more gentle with each other as we walk through these patterns of day to day life with our burden of grief, trying to put a net there for each other, to protect each other.
Because we are family.
But even as I did these chores, I found the flash drive, and I found the hat, and everything reminds me of my father. I am weeping softly typing out remembrances, as if all of life has now turned into memories of my father, as if this is the way I will move forward.
And life will go on filled with poignant reminders…
Warmth is free again tomorrow (January 17)… my dad liked that book. I hope you will too. He kept a paperback of my more serious title “Solitude” by his bed, but he read the eBook of Warmth… calling me from time to time asking why I didn’t kill off it’s reprehensible villain sooner.
Tomorrow (January 17) you can get an absolutely free copy of my eBook “Warmth”, which is a bit of a darkly humorous romp through the life of Sera, an angst ridden ghoulish zombie slayer who has every reason to be bitter. Infected with a virulent strain of gut flora consisting of a pre-bacteria component and a fungi, her body now requires a diet of human flesh and blood to sustain itself.
The trade off for this affliction is an extremely long life, not immortality, but highly retarded aging. For every hundred years, she will age about 90 days – but it is not without a cost. At the end of her life – at the end of every ghoul’s life cycle, her body will reanimate as a zombie-like creature with no desire other than to infect as many as possible before it rots.
If that doesn’t sound half bad to you, that’s probably because you don’t know that Sera is pregnant. In fact, she’s been pregnant for the past 600 years, and she’s due any day now. Between the constant low-grade fever that accompanies her ghoulism, and the very human condition of pregnancy oh so painfully extended through time, she’s in a bad mood.
An old enemy. A threat of revelation to the humans. A potential zombie apocalypse. And a baby on the way.
Some days, a ghoul just can’t get a break…
~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 16, 2013.
Posted in Announcements, Autobiographical, Giveaways, Sumiko's Writing, Warmth
Tags: apocalyptic, Author, cats, Christmas elf, grieving, Horror, loss, parent, Robert Saulson, Warmth, Women in Horror, Women of Color, writing