On Cats and Giant Slingshots

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I've been sitting in a Giant Slingshot, waiting for the launch, expecting the launch, anticipating and dreading it. Slingshots are not very comfortable places to sit. Maybe because they were designed to hold the projectile for just a few seconds until its target is chosen and locked. 

I definitely overstayed my welcome in my Giant Slingshot. I felt it more and more as the days turned into weeks, then months and I was still there. The muscles that held me tight and secure became stiffer and stiffer. But I couldn't let go...

Nothing can really prepare you for the launch, simply because you don't know when and how it's going to happen. People love drama and exaggeration, I know I do. The launch should come after something major, a shake-up of epic proportions like the unravelling of a big secret - learning that my mother had breast cancer could have easily done the trick and loosen the grip, let gravity take care of the rest. But no, I was still there clinging like a scared limpet on a rock. Maybe the anticipation and preparation of a life changing event, like moving to Athens in the fall to start a new career (hopefully) as a sommelier, could have helped to shift the balance and trigger the launch. My  balance was shifted all-right, but no launch came, just an even more uncomfortable position in the slingshot. 

The motions started by my little black ball of fur. On the fourth day of our holiday, Psipsini disappeared. Seriously, she just vanished. And finally, at 6:30am that Monday morning the invisible mechanism that was controlling my Giant Slingshot relaxed its grip on me and I was catapulted into the void. As I was sitting in my balcony, watching the sun rise, not looking for my vanished cat, not stressing whether she'll ever be back, I felt calm and in control of my emotions. Just like that. No drama, no coming Armageddon. Just a vanished cat. 

Letting go...that is the most difficult part. I was mistaken to think the landing would be the think to be afraid of. You can prepare for the landing, I have been since April. Your mind and body remembers your training, even if consciously you have no idea what the hell this "training" is, and just acts when the time comes. I don't think I landed far, maybe a few centimetres further from where I was, but I am standing, stable and in control ready to move forward on my own two feet. 

For the history, the calm phase of not caring and not looking for Psipsini lasted for about a day. After that I felt really very sad. She was, after all, more than just a pet to me. She was my mirror, my alter ego in my dreams. I cried and tried to write about her. The words were dancing in a frenzy in my head. Whenever I thought of her I felt a heavy sadness enveloping me. It wouldn't let me go unless I dampened and dissolved it with tears. Still this sadness had a different quality, something different from before. Could it have been that it was not the overwhelming flood of emotions of a child but the manageable grieving of an adult? Anyhow after a few more days of searching and grieving we stopped and went on with our lives. 

Psipsini was found 17 days later, alive, in a basement about 200m from our house. It took the whole village and a dog to get her out of her hiding place. She is a survivor after all and, contrary to my till now belief, a pretty wild animal. Georgie and I decided to let her stay with my mother, since she is the one who discovered her. I think she is going to help my mother the way she helped me, keeping me company and entraining me with her antics all those lonely hours in Saudi Arabia. Maybe she is going to help my mum even more because all these years Psipsini spent with me she took a part of me that will always be with her for my mother to talk to and caress and get pissed off at.  

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