Sunday, December 11, 2005

Autumn leaves blew winter was coming.......


If only we could know the so short a time in which to enjoy, and savour every second, luxuriate in every brief idle caress.

I chased browned leaves that danced across our garden.

Spring to autumn. I wish I had the experience to know this was the 'top of the milk.' I wish I'd known it, recognised it and rejoiced in it But to me this was my norm. I enjoyed it. Only with hindsight do I know this fleeting time was the best time.

Gertie and me had a routine of comforts and habit. She worked in the dockyard, got up early in the morning. She had a large chrome plated clock with huge chrome plated bells and a big hammer that would beat those bells into submission every morning at six.

I slept on the small landing outside of Gertie's bedroom door. The grating clanking and whirring of those gears and cogs would alert me every morning as they flexed and tautened for the bout of the excruciating din. I followed my pre-emptive strategy, I stretched, rearranged the whiskies, nudged Gertie's door open and sprung onto her bed. I would gently comb her hair with my paw and most times but not all times she would reach out and move the lever that would quell the bells.
Gertrude would say to her sisters,
"That Ginger he can tell the time! Gets me up better than any alarm clock!"

Tea and toast, milk and Friskies: our breakfast. Gertie would leave at 6.45 and spend the day cleaning, and after shining and polishing, brushing and sweeping she would leave her work at 3.30. At four pm the key was turned in the lock. Gertie was home. Her large leather bag filled with shopping, contraband and always a book: a novel. Her purse tucked down so the bag smiths wouldn't nick.

Tea: crumpets and tea, or cake and tea. I unfortunately, for I would love to have shared the table with Gert, hate the smell of tea but I was served milk and sometimes top of the milk and just occasionally she would give me slivers of toast oozing with warm melted butter that I would lick from her fingers.

Halcyon days.

That autumn morning gears shifted and cogs whirred, I stretched and washed. I combed Gert's hair. Cogs clanked. And I combed. Wheels turned and I combed. Grindings. Combings. I stretched my claws and combed.

"Gertie," I said in her ear.

Clank! comb, whirr. Gertie lay still, even as the cogs were for the first time in four months loosed. The bells hammered into clamouring arousal. The strikes so many shards of glass piercing my head, and Gertie. Gert laid quite still.

Later much later a black van arrived. She was carried out between two men raised high. I accompanied her down the narrow steep stairs and as they paused to open the front door and after I'd heard the discussions as to what they thought were the best options for 'the cat,' and when the door was opened for Gert's last exit, jumped out from behind the last black suited man and watched from the corner of the avenue as Gert was loaded onto that black windowless van, I followed her as she travelled, chauffer driven, ran along side, called to her, to
"Gertie...
Gertieee,
Gertieeeee."

Her carriage turned left, I jumped the forecourt walls, 500 yards. I was racing to the end of the road. Stamshaw school. She would have had to have turned left? Gert was nowhere and I was nowhere. I just knew this was a last day. My routine was over. ... Autumn leaves blew winter was coming......

1 comment:

poody said...

I am so sorry to hear about Gertie. You poor kitty!!