High Anxiety

You visit
without warning
unlike a gentleman
come to call

my heart races
with terror
when you wend my way
you can make
the mightiest fall

I wish I could stop the
flutter in my chest,
the fear from things
unseen

Anxiety,
I don’t like you
please pack up your bags
And leave!

Alone Again (Naturally)

Karl 2

As some of you know, Bernie is the newest member of our “pride.” He’s been part of the family since April 23. For the first four weeks or so, he stayed upstairs and developed what seemed to be a strong bond with Karl (above). Karl lost his best kitty friend five years ago, so Lorin and I were very happy when we saw the closeness unfolding between Karl and Bernie. Karl is very timid and spends most of his time upstairs in the guest bedroom.

Bernie Might Love Karl

Karl and Bernie

After four or five weeks, Bernie started coming downstairs. I think he realized that’s where the food and “action” is. He began playing with Samson and Quincy and sleeping on the sofa or one of the dining room chairs. Now he rarely, if ever, goes upstairs.

This has not been easy for Karl. Over the weekend, Karl tried to woo Bernie back through various vocalizations (some mournful and heartbreaking) and by sitting or lying near him or on his new scratch mat in the dining room. It seems this only frightened Bernie and made him feel cornered.

Karl can be extremely pushy and aggressive during play or when he wants affection.

This morning I was awoken at 4:45 a.m. to the sound of shrieking, growling (Bernie) and  woeful crying (Karl).  I headed downstairs and shuttled Karl upstairs and locked him in the bedroom with me. He was intermittently crying and panting, and when I got him to sit on the bed with me, I saw a tuft of white fur in his claw–Bernie’s. It took at least a half hour for Karl to calm down from what seemed like a panic attack. Lorin brought a dish of food and water upstairs, which he devoured.

Karl seemed much calmer after that.

I feel sad for him: it seems his heart has been broken a second time. I hope Bernie and Karl can settle their “differences” and become buddies again.

Unrequited Kitty Love

Karl 2

This is Karl, my beloved almost-eight-year-old cat. He has been part of our family since the age of 4 months, when he was a very shy, runty fellow. We adopted him from a lovely Russian lady who was fostering him.

Karl 004

Karl as a kitten

As I mentioned in a prior post, “Karl Loves Bernie,” Karl’s best friend was Magnus, who died at a very young age; he was also mothered by my late cat Panther. Both she and Magnus died in 2011. Since then. he hasn’t had that strong a bond with another cat. Until Bernie. Only that Bernie doesn’t seem to share in this love.

Bernie on bed

We adopted Bernie almost two weeks ago. Apparently, his owner died and he ended up at a pound in Paterson, New Jersey, then was moved to PetSmart by a rescue organization and resided there for almost two months.

Bernie is extremely timid, but Karl took a real shine to him. They even sniffed noses one morning and no hissing or growling transpired. My husband Lorin feeds them in our bedroom upstairs: they are locked in together so the other cats don’t steal their food. We started feeding Karl separately when it was apparent the other cats were bullying him out of his meals.

At around 5:15 this morning, I heard growling (Bernie) and plaintive sounds (Karl) from the guest room, where Bernie has been spending most of his time. Both of them were under the bed, Karl pleading with him to come out. If he were human, it might go like this, “Please, please, I love you. Why don’t you love me back?”

Bernie: “Leave me alone. I’m scared. I don’t trust you. Why did those damn humans bring me here?”

Lorin fed Karl in our room, and Bernie, in the guest room, but Karl barely touched his bowl. Lorin surmises that Karl is trying to win Bernie’s love with food and saves it for him. I don’t doubt it. Karl has lost a little weight over the last few days.

What to do?

Lorin is doing some research on the matter and hopefully things will work themselves out.

In the meantime, please keep your fingers and paws crossed for us!

 

About Bernie

Bernie 2 Bernie

(PetSmart.com)

This is Bernie. My husband Lorin met him at PetSmart in Paramus, NJ last night when he was harness shopping for our cat Sylvester (below).

Sylvester in kitchen

Bernie is a large, gentle five-year-old who was surrendered by his owners. Lorin thinks he saw his prior owners at the store, and said that Bernie looked very sad. He didn’t know why they were giving him up.

Lorin spoke to the adoption ladies at PetSmart, and they said they were hoping to either find foster parents for him or a forever home. They said they wanted to find someone who would be willing to put him on a diet–he weighs about 40 pounds.

After Lorin told me about Bernie, I had to search for him online.  As he bears the same first name as my favorite presidential candidate, I needed to see him in the fur. No information was available in his profile. It merely said “Bernie’s Story” with nothing beneath the photos.

Lorin and I discussed the possibility of fostering him and putting him on a diet until we could find him a forever home. He suggested we go to PetSmart on Saturday to see him. I said that would be fine.

We already have four cats, so taking on a fifth would be a bit much (even for us), but I would like to help him.

Why would anyone abandon a healthy, sweet five-year-old cat? Perhaps they are broke, their house is in foreclosure or they are leaving town. Nevertheless, it seems cruel. Who am I to judge? I don’t know what his prior owners are going through or what events have befallen them to arrive at this decision. All that matters is that this sweet boy finds a home with someone who will love him.

 

Pit Stop

7 11

google images

This morning I saw my friend across the street and waved for her to come quickly: the bus was coming. The New Jersey Transit buses run on their own schedule: the 7:56 comes at either 8:00 or 8:01, the 8:09 doesn’t seem to come at all (unless it’s invisible), and the 8:22 arrives at about 8:15, so you see the importance of catching the bus right away especially when waiting at a bus stop with no shelter, and it is friggin’ cold outside. When I boarded, I said to the driver, “There’s someone coming from across the street.”

Wool cap pulled down, looking down at me from behind his shades, he said, “I can’t wait for somebody across the street.”

“Okay,” I said.

Guess my buddy will have to wait for the 8:22, I mean, 8:15 bus.

She made it! Not sure if he had second thoughts, or if she got lucky. Either way, I was happy for her. We exchanged smiles.

The driver was racing, stopping short, and I started feeling nauseous. What’s his damn hurry?

At the Passaic and Esplanade stop, he turned off the ignition, turned to us and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

I felt like a kid on the way to a field trip being abandoned on the side of the road. I remembered the time Mrs. Nesi locked us in the classroom in third grade. She pulled down the shades and put a sheet of black construction paper in the square window in the door. She said she was leaving us because we had misbehaved, and this was our punishment. Some kids started crying; some laughed and threw paper airplanes or fired spitballs. Others sat obediently on their hands as instructed, staring into space—Catholic school will do that to you. An airless room, no AC, in June 1970.

The bus sounds were amplified: the businessman on his cell phone more obnoxious than ever, throat clearing, a fitful sneeze. Then radio silence.

Our driver abandoned ship for an excursion to 7-11, apparently to take a piss, because when he returned, there was a spring in his step. I guess that’s why he was in such a hurry.

His driving continued to be jerky, but less so than before. Thank God for small blessings. I still felt nauseous and shut my eyes, figuring what I would use for a vomit bag. The plastic CVS bag that held my lunch would do fine. Hopefully it wouldn’t be necessary.

Reading on my iPhone was now out of the question, so I put in the earbuds and tuned into Pandora radio, which now wants me to connect with friends on Facebook. But I don’t want to!

I simply want to hear a soothing refrain to get my mind off puking. The Monteverdi station, that’s good, no, how about the Django Reinhardt station. “Minor Swing” was making me dizzy so I switched to the Thomas Newman station which features film soundtracks like The Road to Perdition, The Hours and Battlestar Gallactica—much better. I was starting to feel less sick.

Oh no. As we approached the toll plaza, the driver opened the door and said to the driver to our right, “Do you want one? Do you want a problem?”

Oh my God. Is there going to be a bus drivers’ duel? What the hell?

I shut my eyes, and continued listening to The Hours by Philip Glass, burrowing snugly into my happy place. 

The bus door shut. Then it re-opened. “Hey, catch you later!” our driver said, laughing.

Hallelujah, he’s happy again, and he’s not going to get into a rumble with the other guy and abandon us again, and we may all make it to work on time!

We pulled into Port Authority at 9:05—not bad at all.

“Thank you,” I said to the bus driver.

He did not respond, and that’s OK.