Monday, August 7, 2017

August 2017: Taking stock

It's August 2017 and I don't think anyone reads this blog anymore, with the blogging trend all but overtaken by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So I guess I don't have to be too concerned about too many people reading this. It'll serve as a personal archive of sorts...

See that kitty there? He's still the rambunctious furball I adopted with my then live-in girlfriend six years ago. The bald stomach and patch on his hind side is not natural nor a disease.

He just licks himself too much after the bad break up I went through three years ago and had to relocate him to my parents house. Vet says it's anxiety and nothing threatening as long as the skin doesn't break and becomes infected.

Other than the dip in handsomeness he's still the same ol tiny tiger I brought back home in a box.

In many aspects my cat bears my scars.

I have friends with whom our friendship was damaged in the fallout from my breakup those years ago and can never be fully repaired. I don't blame them, given how I was spinning down into the abyss, oblivious to good will and advice.

Only a few stood by me unflinchingly, not judging, and for that I'm forever indebted.

As I look ahead and take stock of all I've accomplished these past three years, I'm amazed at how far I've come. And what I managed to do. Small potatoes perhaps to high flyers and world conquerors, but for me, a hell lot.

I survived a retrenchment, relocated to another country for work, sky dived, traveled to places from Finland and Denmark to around Asia, and hopped across China.

Most of all, I proposed, and bought a house.

And I'm still based overseas after more than a year.

I owe this to a very special someone, who has given me motivation, inspiration and maturity.

But there's still ol Skippy back home. Healthy with my folks but not loved in the way he was used to... No laps to sit on, no balls to chase, no strings to fight. My mother overcame her fear of anything living but non human, and my dad grew his general indifference to animals into something bordering on care... for a plant. But I'm still nevertheless grateful because they did this for me. They could have easily thrown Skippy out when I went overseas to seek a new life but they changed what little bit they could for me.

Through Skippy, who bears my scars, I've also learned the power of family and never to take your folks for granted. They are the only ones who will have your back till the very end.

Cats live to about 12 or 15, and if lucky, even 20. I hope I've still got more than half of Skippy's life span to make up for the lost time and love I couldn't give him, in my blackout days and when I'm abroad.

I don't have kids, but if our cats were anything, they were the closest we had to kids in a home we shared for four years. I remember just a day after our break, when she refused to come back, how I sat forlorn alone in the bedroom, tears streaming, my face scrunched up in the pain of heartbreak as the reality sunk in that a life I've built and a future I thought I'd live, was no more...Skippy with his meows as he curled himself around my ankles. I could just be self projecting of course, but it's almost as if he knew. He knew I was sad. Something wasn't right. "She's not coming back..." I remembered telling him. Meow.

I think you know you're finally really over a breakup when it hits you, how little you mattered and how easily the other side had let go at the end. We always like to think it's as hard for them as it is for us when we're on the receiving end of the pain. That's the delusion of heartbreak....It's mostly one-sided. Skippy mattered little in the end. And it was her who wanted to adopt him. We had another cat that she lost. An old grumpy coot she had since university. We split the cats when we ended and moved out. She lost it just a few months after, and didn't tell me...Spottie was my cat too. I only learned of it through a friend.

So, as I look at Skippy, the only remnant from another life, which is mine to bear while she has been unburdened of everything and gifted with the new, I always feel bittersweet. I can't say it's resentment. But I can't say I've forgiven too...If ever.

But Skippy and I know. We're warriors. And we wear our scars proud. Whatever kind of pain we went through made us who we are. My ol buddy went through abandonment, yet still never lost his spark and love for human contact.

When I'm back in Singapore he sleeps in the middle of the staircase of our three story home, right in between the second and third floor equidistant from my folks upstairs, and my brother and I in our rooms on the second level. It's almost as if he knows, he has to be close to everyone. He used to sleep with us in bed back in the day... But of course no one in my house when I moved home, was having it. Before I left for HK, I used to give him that comfort, but since I flew, the stairs close to everyone are his best alternative.

One day, boy, we can cosy up like old times as I hear your soothing purs and scratch your flabby tummy. No matter how much my life has changed.

Till then I hope you feel loved even though it's not the same kind of love you were raised on...