Today, in Three Parts: 15 March 2023

Black cat with white patch on chest watches the sky

Today, in three parts.

Part One:

It’s strange, Noel and I getting up the same time to go to work again. Like we’ve never done it before, but we did it in December, at least, the last time. The timing seemed off yesterday, and it seems off again today too, even seconds after the alarm goes off, and we get up out of whatever rhythm we once had.

Noel’s fighting a cold, and he coughs this really bronchial cough as he enters the bathroom. I stop him as he stands in the doorway and looks back, and I tell him to stay home, which he doesn’t protest. He heads back to bed.

I’m running on time when I go out to feed Star and Twinkle, the dawn a brightening orange color on the horizon. Star isn’t interested in food (she seems to be uninterested most mornings lately), merely cuddles, and I give her lots of pats. Twinkle arrives, bouncing from the fence to the barbeque to the concrete patio, but she’s seen a moth and that’s her primary focus.

My morning routine usually finishes after Noel’s, and we’re out to the car between 7:15 and 7:20, closer to 7:15 usually. This morning I start the car at 7:27. Yesterday’s lethargy has somehow crept into today, even though I’m feeling better. I reverse slowly into the street and gun it once I’m clear of the driveway. I’m running very late, and I’m super aware I’m going to hit the morning rush hour I seem to avoid when I leave before 7:15.

Part Two:

Running so late, I’ve forgotten the sandwich Noel made me for lunch, so Burger King it is.

I’m also late for lunch today due to work, so I’m hitting the drive thru at around 12:45 instead of the usual 12 PM.

Pulling up to the drive thru screen — and I never believed in using drive thru until COVID came along — there’s a new sign. It’s on an oddly cheerful lime green background, but it basically says, “Stop being racist dicks to our team.” At this Burger King, only a few blocks from work, primarily Indian and Asian team members work there. They are always polite, sunny, smiling, so I’m not sure why people would be such pricks unless they get embarassed by not understanding the BK team members’ accents.

When I get to the window to pay, it’s the usual Indian lady. She’s older than me, but always welcoming and attentive. She asks me something she couldn’t remember about my order, and after I answer, I say, “You know, you’re always smiling and always so kind. Thank you. I appreciate that.” There’s this dropping of defences and she grins. She gives me a heartfelt wish to have a great day, and it makes me smile.

Heading out of the parking lot, there’s a Muslim man in a crisp baby blue outfit with a white headdress walking along the sidewalk. He’s not sure where I’m heading, and I know he’s heading to Burger King, so I stop and wave him through. He gestures for me to proceed, but then I indicate he’s on foot so he should go first. We come to a compromise where he kinda walks behind my car, and he looks uneasy, but I smile at him this wide grin, hoping to ease whatever burden is making him appear that way.

I later remember today is the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack against our mosques in Christchurch. Maybe he was there. Maybe he lost friends or family. How so very horrible. Deep down, I hope I somehow made his day a little easier.

Part Three:

I’m worn out after I get home, and I’m really not hungry for dinner. Something about arriving home with no beautiful Sissy to welcome me or to cuddle or to meow at me as I dish up her dinner plus the anniversary of the terrorism makes my stomach sour.

There are constant waves of geese flying over our subdivision these last few days as the leaves sound like the crackling infected lungs make every time there is a breeze. It’s a nor’easter this evening, so the wind is gustier, blowing inland off the Pacific Ocean, causing sea clouds to barrel swiftly across the gray skies.

While we’re having dinner, I look outside, and Star and Twinkle are on the barbeque. Twinkle’s curled up asleep, but Star’s looking upwards, watching wave after wave of geese move over our house.

After dinner, I go outside and feed Star chicken — today Twinkle isn’t interested — and she’s quite cuddly but doesn’t eat it all. Twinkle’s more a dry kibble kinda gal these days, and I notice their dry food bowl is getting a little low, so I duck inside to get more food.

I’m back outside, with their bowl on top of our patio table (we keep it on a chair under the table), when another three waves of geese fly over. My attention shifts upwards as I watch some geese swap positions in their formation. They barely have to flap, the sea breeze is that strong sometimes. As they glide, I wonder how they remain so sure of their bond and their instinct to all head the same place to live for the winter. How wonderful life must be to be sure of everything, never doubting for a second, knowing you have this flock to always look out for you, always watch your back.

A paw rests on my arm, pulling downwards slightly. It’s Twinkle, and when I glance at her, her green eyes are wide and beckoning. If she could speak, she’d say, “NuMum? Don’t look at the honky-honky, flappy-flappy thingies. I want my biccies, pleasing you and thankending me.”

She’s so sweet and so soft, and I thank God he sent Star and Twinkle to us to soften the blow of Sissy’s passing. I run my hand through her fur on the top of her head, and she boops back as she always does. The scoop fills the kibble in her bowl, and I slide it back on the chair under the table. Twinkle blows kisses at me before she disappears underneath. I lift the food bag from the table, look up at the geeseless sky, and head inside.