Book Light

She loved reading books, and not just reading them, but researching what to read next, talking about her reads with her friends and family, and prowling book stores with her book list in her hand. Non-fiction, fantasy, young adult, historic novels, mysteries…they were all on her list. She read everyday, often reading four or five books a week. Finding a new author that she enjoyed was her greatest pleasure.

Then her mother died, her mother, who’d always encouraged her to read, introducing her to The Three Detectives series and Nancy Drew Mysteries, her mother, whose idea of a day out was taking her girls to the public library, where each was allowed to check out one book.

With her mother gone, she no longer wanted to read. It was like her book light had gone out, and would not come back on.

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Last Wish

Dressed in a long, glossy black skirt, black boots, and a hooded black rain coat, she shuffled in slowly. Her steps made no sounds. A little bent forward, white, with wire rim glasses, she looked straight ahead.

She looks like death, he thought.

Turning, she looked at him, raised a black-gloved finger at him, and smiled. She is death, he realized. The scene changed. Instead of being at a coffee shop table typing on a computer, he was squirming and shaking against the shock of being born.

Great, he thought back in the other moment, guessing that he was going to endure a this-is-your-life montage before dying.

That was probably going to take a while.

He wished he had more coffee.

Awkward

He considered it a sign of his life that this shit happened.

First, he’d outlived his friends and family. Said good-bye to all of them. By the time some died, they’d noticed that his hair remained shiny and full, wrinkles didn’t mar his skin, and that he remained energetic and athletic as a twenty-year-old. “Good genes,” he always said, even to his parents and siblings. “Why didn’t we get those genes?” they wanted to know. “Good question,” he replied.

Now, they were alive again, not because of his good genes, but because he’d awakened back in time. “Impossible,” he told himself.

But there they were. He wondered if he’d have to say good-bye to them again, or would they finally watch him pass away.

Either way, it could be awkward.

Clothing and Cats

Getting ready for Friendsgiving, I selected my attire. I would wear a green vee-neck Tommy Bahama sweater.

I’d bought that sweater the year I moved from Half Moon Bay, California, to Ashland, Oregon, which was 2005. Funny, though, I bought it while on a visit Half Moon Bay to spend Thanksgiving with friends. I bought that sweater a few days before the holiday, and wore it that Thanksgiving. Here I was, thirteen years later, putting it on for another Thanksgiving.

I’d been thinking about my clothes for several previous days before that. The shirt I’d worn earlier that day had been bought in 1998. The one worn the day before was also bought in the late nineties. My shirts, sweaters, and underwear seem to last a while. My jeans and shoes don’t.

I was thinking all of this because I was thinking about cats. I’d moved up with two in 2005, Pogo and Scheckter. Pogo died the following year, killed by a car. His ashes are in our bedroom.

We moved to this new house in 2006, now with just Scheckter. Within three months, we also had Lady and Quinn.

Lady was a rescue. A man I knew through the coffee shop had rescued her. I used to buy him coffee and bagels, and donate cat food to him. Lady had been living behind the movie theater. He started feeding her but it took a year to earn her trust. Now his health was falling and he had to move. Moving meant giving up five of his six cats. He could take one. He had homes for four more. Only Lady, skittish and shy, didn’t have a home.

Then, on a cold, windy midnight, I’d gone out to call Scheckter in. Quinn instead turned up. Since it was a nasty night, we gave him food and shelter. We hunted down his owners and returned him to them, but he kept coming back to us. They moved, leaving him behind.

So, for seven years, it was Scheckter, Lady, and Quinn, three wonderful cats who got along well. 2013 found us losing Scheckter, and then Lady, leaving just Quinn.

Not to worry, though. Three more cats, Tucker, Boo Radley, and Papi (a.k.a. Meep), found us. We were a four-cat family for a while, even though Tucker, Boo, and Papi often fought. As Scheckter and Lady were dying, Tucker showed up and begged for food and help. We tried to find his people but no one claimed him. He had medical issues which took a few years and some money to resolve. Then came Boo, also begging for food, and also unclaimed. Next was Papi.

Quinn remained the sweet lord of the house. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in this past September and died two days before Thanksgiving. He had a strong will until his last four days. I tried keeping him comfortable and helping him, but he finally told me, I’m done. I didn’t want to accept it, but you can’t argue with some things. I cried and let him go.

We’re back down to three cats. They get along better, although there are daily hissing encounters. I couldn’t help but thinking as I dressed on Thanksgiving, I wish my cats would last as long as my clothes.

The Optimistic Writer

He’d died, but he didn’t know it. He’d been writing his novel, and then editing and revising it. It wasn’t until he’d finished it that he came up for air and discovered he no longer had a body, and wasn’t a part of anyone’s earthly existence.

As far as he could ascertain, he’d been dead for several months. Probate of his meager estate was concluded, his clothing and personal items given away, and his name moved from one set of records to another. The cause of his death wasn’t clear. It seemed that he couldn’t see that, no matter how he tried to view it.

After some reflection, he wasn’t too concerned. Being dead meant no more concerns about money, health, politics, and the environment. He didn’t need to worry about being killed crossing the street or shot by some madman with a gun. The worst part about his death appeared to be that he was out of coffee.

That was going to put a crimp in his plans. On the other hand, he had a new novel idea.

He couldn’t wait to get started.

Final Words

The dyin’ man

in the dyin’ land

said with his dyin’ breath,

“Life is not a fantasy,

it’s always been a test.

“I’ve done some harm,

caused some alarm,

and failed more than one person.

“I had some dreams,

and made some schemes,

but never found my purpose.

“But now I lay me down to sleep, 

I’m about to close my eyes,

say what you will ’bout me,

I don’t care, I died.”

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