Any Port In A Storm
You know how you can be walking down the street, heading for home, thinking about what to make for supper, minding your own sweet business, when suddenly you get run over by a herd of zebras? Ok, you’re right, there aren’t too many zebras in France. And there’s not much about this story that’s particular to France, except in the sense that people everywhere get ill and suffer and struggle. Even in France, the land of wine and cheese and socialized medicine.
Maybe trains make a more apt metaphor. France is justly famous for its speeding trains, and while no one plans to get hit by one, people do. They’re big, they’re fast, they come at you out of nowhere, and its no use thinking that you can see every one coming. Every railroad crossing here has a sign that says “Un train peut en cacher un autre.” The train you see coming may conceal another train, the one you can’t see until it’s too late.
While Shel’s been in the hospital getting taken apart and put back together for one thing and another, it turns out that the cancer he’s been fighting for fourteen years has been growing alarmingly. It’s pretty scary this time, and I have to admit it: we’re scared. We have a week to wait and wonder and worry and wish things were different, and although the time will pass in any case, we have to fill it somehow.
Whenever possible, Beppo naps luxuriously. Cats are supposed to sleep about twenty hours a day, and there are days when we wish we could too.
Zazou gets herself up the tallest trees in the garden and then sometimes mews in terror. But more often, after a lot of crashing and claw-gnashing, she lands on her feet. We hope we will too.
France or no France, gastronomic mecca or not, Shel’s been asking for an astounding assortment of meals: hot dogs, cheeseburgers, barbecue. Food from long ago and faraway, when life seemed safer. I make it for him as best I can, but me, I’m trying to keep my cool by eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
We’re each coping in our own way, although Zazou has it the easiest, since this exact life is all she knows. The rest of us remember a brighter time, and hope to see another.