In Memory of Snooty

~In Memory of Snooty ~

~ 3 November 2002 - 3 December, 2004 ~


I look at your Certificate of Sterilisation dated 26 May, 2003. Today I’m searching for clues, facts about you and your life to share.
You are listed as a Surrender Cat by the RSPCA. Truth is you were special from the day I laid eyes on you. One of three female kittens born, 3 November, 2002. Anyone familiar with you would know you would never surrender!

You were the rascally kitten standing aloof from the litter. You had a snooty kind of, don’t touch me attitude and I thought you were in a bad mood. Looking through photos today confirms, in my mind, as loving and accepting of our cuddles as you were, the name really does suit.

I almost called you Sooty. They are everywhere. You are an individual; special. Snooty seemed appropriate. Not only because of your demeanour but also your colour you were the superior, snobby little puss.



Yesterday you didn’t come for breakfast. Not really unusual; you were roaming further each day on escapades for solitude, excitement and the occasional takeaway. Hunting always your thing!

Today you missed breakfast again and I called and called. You didn’t come. I finished attending the rest of the animals and for some reason I felt compelled to water a certain section of the garden dry from increasing temperatures over the past week, or was it something calling me; fate. As I went around the garden I spotted you under the roses.

I found you near the clothesline. You and I spent so many wonderful sunny days. You, lazing on the ground under the roses, shiny, unconcerned and me daydreaming as I pegged out clothes. I thought you were resting or maybe unwell. I came closer and realised the horrible truth.

You were stiff, your body swollen and I noticed your eyes. One open wide and glazed, the other half closed and foggy. Your mouth showing teeth slightly open as though you caught something and enjoyed a fight. I felt so bad I didn’t even get a chance to help you live. You died alone.

You found a nice orange rose to sleep under for a while on your journey to some place else.

Perhaps you were on your way to the Orchard to sit in your favourite spot between the gate and the corner fence post. Early in the morning you’d look from the long grass in the orchard, watch the pretty birds and catch an occasional mouse. If you were really lucky you would hazard a rabbit kitten and you’d eat its head and leave the body on my front step; respect. Or, maybe you’d take a look across the property down to the sparkling dam. It glistens pretty at this time of the morning; sunrise. But you never were one for gazing out over the property. You caught me so many times. Instead you would sit quietly for hours willing the beautiful rosella to come a little closer. The true optimistic heart of a hunter!

Yesterday I noticed feathers in the front yard around our house. I wondered which culprit did that and, honestly, Snooty, your name came to mind.

I dug your burial hole this morning. I called my husband at work to share our sad news. Upset he couldn’t be at your funeral, he wished you well and Good Journey.

Funny, in a weird unhappy way, digging a hole to bury a favourite pet is quite an enlightening task. I found myself digging and not thinking, and digging and wondering, if the hole would be big enough, or comfortable enough for you. I guess that’s why we bury our dead. It gives us time to grieve. To think, to remember, to cry and that’s what I did.

I stopped crying not because my heart healed or because I forgot you. My tears stopped because I couldn’t see to dig and my hair annoyed me sticking to my face with the tears. I lent back, balanced the shovel on my body, took off my glasses and wiped the tears on my shirt sleeve. I pushed my hair away from my face and put my glasses back on. I then got serious towards the dig.

I caught myself thinking. I believe you may be making way for some special soul. Secretly I hope you’re the entrance for my own son or daughter. Seventeen years of wishing. Perhaps you’ll go to the place where Angel Baby’s come from and ask for a human soul to share my wonderful life, bring joy and heal my broken heart.

Snooty this isn’t about me. It’s about you. I could talk about you for hours but that would do little to bring you back. You were special, my companion and always alive in my heart.
Sleep well, pleasant dreams and see you in the next life.

I’ll always remember you. Good Journey.

You Snooty little Regent!

Zakgirl.

Zinaida Alone

Zinaida Alone

You sit back in the comfort of your lounge chair and watch the television news.

The woman dressed in a dark blue business suit smacks of professionalism. Impeccably dressed and blonde hair held tight in a bun at the back of her head. No wispy ends escape.

A mixture of excitement and fear escapes her lips as she reports the scene playing out behind her. The words tremble as they escape over the Reporters shiny red lips,

“....blast and people running out from the building.”

Images flash from one bloody scene to the next. Blasts are heard over people screaming and yelling in confusion.

You see momma’s face; someone’s mother’s face is bruised, battered, black and bloodied. She rushes towards the roadside. She looks helpless and needs a hug.

A skinny young girl in white underpants lies on the side of the road. She is dead.

You, the television audience, look on, unaware of any connection between the woman and the girl.


The next day:
The dark haired woman her eyes brown and bloodshot speaks to an American reporter,

"Yesterday was a special day for my daughter.”

The elderly woman grips a white handkerchief in her right hand moves it from right to left and back repeatedly. It is blood-stained. Softly she says,

“Supposed to be special.”

The Reporter saying nothing hangs on every word, while looking into the woman’s large black pupils in the dim light of her darkened home.

The camera is rolling.

“The first day of school should hold excitement and a little fear for children. It has a way of burning itself into a child’s memory. That is how it is. That is normal. That is how it should be. This day, torched its way into our memories forever. For those lucky or unlucky enough to survive it will remain."

The person behind the camera zooms in close-up on the woman as a way to encapsulate her grief or for the drama of viewers at home.

"My name is, Zinaida. I am the woman you watch on your television. You watch me from the comfort of your lounge chairs."

The replay of yesterdays events come up on part of the television screen to show the audience the woman’s description of yesterday’s events.

She explains with numb monotone, “I search the mess around me." The picture shows people delegated to control the situation running terrified and confused. I see anguish and fear. I feel it too." A fully-grown man unable to walk is carried away like a sack. His face shows grief, pain and loss.

Zinaida goes on, "Urgent fear, the need to get away grips me, but hope for my daughter’s life keeps me in this horrible place. Nine years old." her eyes glaze over and she continues,

"God hear my calls, please. Where are you God?

Urgency screams at me. I search the grounds for my child. I am lost but I am aware of where I am. I am afraid. People trying to help, run around in confusion.

I trust no one and I trust everyone.

I walk quickly and carefully around the lumps of sheets around my feet. I lift every sheet. Some have blood on them and I know under one of these sheets I may find my child. I fear and sense in my heart and soul nothing but dread.

I hope, I pray.

I see a child who looks like my flesh. I touch her. She is soft, still warm, bruised and stale dry blood sticks around her eyes, nose and mouth. I look closely.

She is not my child.

I feel relief.

I know it is only a matter of time before I find my daughter.

I lift another sheet. I feel guilty for lifting the sheet, which allows someone else’s daughter to sleep in peace. I kiss her forehead and place the sheet back over her, once lovely face. I hate this. I hate the pain. I hate the fear. I hate fighting and I want everyone to find a way to live in peace."

Tears squeeze their way from Zinaida's eyes but are suspended by fear and pain in the bottom of her eyelids.

"I attended this school when I was younger. I held happy memories of this place - not anymore.
My husband is not here. I feel he is a stranger. Like him everyone is outside of me. I am alone. I cannot understand. I will not.

So many confused thoughts roll around and things I believed true are now lies and lies are the reality of this horrible time.

I am distraught. I am hurt in a way that will never heal. I will not live anymore. I can only exist. I do not want to exist either.

That man walking up to me.” She points at the footage on the screen. “He informs me of the death of my daughter. Anger rises in me. I want to hit him and scream at him. But it would do no good. I let it pass. I know I have to support the resistance in order to gain freedom. My strength is fading and I would rather be dead like my child."

The Reporter thanks Zinaida solemnly and ends the interview.


A few days later:
The Reporter calls Zinaida at home for a follow up interview.

“For the viewers at home, Zinaida. They want to know how things are for you now.”

She replies, “Many days pass. I still feel as though I am in the school grounds. Putin said 'All Russia grieves with you' but when innocent, helpless, children are victims. The whole world grieves except the people with no souls. I have felt love from others but…”

The phone line is silent. The grief-stricken woman continues,

“It is not enough. I question the people who perpetrated these crimes in my mind. I ask them. What is it you are tying to say? What are you trying to teach us? You are different to me. What do you want me to do? I am tired. I am confused. My husband died that day too.

I found out later he died trying to save children on the other side of the building. I have no one left. No hope.”

The Reporter says nothing. There is a longer silence.

The aggrieved woman gently places the phone on the cradle, lowers herself down to the floor, curls up in a ball and closes her eyes. She sees vivid images of that horrible day. They haunt her days and nights.

She reaches for a pen and writes:-

Дорогой Бог,
Пожалуйста помогите мне,
Я - ваш ребенок, также.

The reporter hangs up and calls the airport to book a flight.

The next day:
The reporter enters Zinaida’s home. She notices writing on the floor near the woman’s crumpled lifeless body.

The next day, the reporter enters Zinaida’s home. She notices writing on the floor near the woman’s crumpled lifeless body.

She interprets the words as:-

Dear God,
Please help me,
I am a child of yours, too.
Zinaida.”

The Reporter picks up the blood stained handkerchief beside the woman's hand. Stares at it. Implores it to speak and explain all these atrocities. She closes the woman’s eyes. Closes her own for a moment. Leans down and places the handkerchief in Zinaida's right hand.

The reporter leaves the building. No Police investigate the suicide. No family attend the funeral.

Like so many before. This woman, Zinaida… Alone.

The end.



*********************************************************************
Authors Note: Zakgirl does not speak Russian. The words for the letter were taken from an interpretation website. She trusts they are correct but has no way of knowing. This is a piece of fiction inspired by a photograph of the recent Russian school massacre. I hope it moves you.

Santa is real - Where's my bloody bike!

Ho! Ho! Bloody ho!

Santa is real – where’s my bike?

My Dad, although a serious hard working man and tough with discipline must have believed in making Christmas special; he kept the secret of Santa’s real identity from me for many years.

Xmas 1972

I, Cate believe Santa comes down the chimney and is more real than Jesus.

Xmas 1974

The week before Christmas Mum sits on Dad’s knee and together they read a letter.

************************************************************
Dear Santa Clause,

How are you? I good.

People say you not real. I know you is and nothin gona to change the real in Santa.

my dog Judy says hello.

i want a bike and a swimming pool.

Pease thank you

Love Cate”

… Dated December 1974.

************************************************************

Mum mentions my spelling.

“Santa Claus,” she spells out “c l a u s” then tells me there is no e on the end and not claws, c l a w s, that’s a cats claw.”

The card shows a picture of Santa and his kangaroo reindeer. Mum doesn’t bother about the other errors; she smiles and explains Santa cannot give me a pool because we don’t have enough water to fill one.

************************************************************

Me. Cate.

I have the most important job in the world. I get to place a bottle of beer on the table for Santa and a piece of fruit cake and a glass for him to drink the beer.

Only the red label bottle. Santa doesn’t drink any other. I want to keep Santa really happy so I leave peanuts too. I know Santa loves peanuts just like my Dad. I also know Santa is not my Dad dressed up because Dad hardly ever drinks beer. It is kinda funny this Christmas-eve because Dad is having

Pre-Santa-coming-down-the-chimney beer!

Very strange indeed …

************************************************************

I lay in my bed clutching at the sheet trying to pretend to be fast asleep. I know the quicker I get to sleep the sooner Santa will come down the chimney and leave my presents.

How can I sleep? I am so excited.

I doze and dream of Santa arriving …

Bells ringing wake me.

Must be Santa!

I realise in frozen fear I am not asleep. I can feel my heart pounding in my throat. Shadows bop as my eyes look rapidly around the room.

What if Santa knows I’m awake? I slam my eyes shut with such force salty water comes from them. My teeth are clenched so hard my jaw begins to hurt.

I hear words from a song.

He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake. Better not…

What? I ask.

Santa Claus is coming … da da something!

Annoyed I can’t remember all the words I worry some more. I know I have been good. At least I thought I had been good. If I could remember the words to that song I might have more clues on what to do about not being asleep. Then I ask what’s good? What’s bad? A heap of questions toss around in my head and visions of Santa, presents, reindeers, lemonade and lollies keep me awake.

The house is quiet.

What if Santa can see me? I dare not move and try to stay dead quiet. I place my hands over my eyes. Yes. Eyes are shut. I wander if Santa knows the sound of someone sleeping so I search for a way to sound like I’m asleep.

I hold my breath and realise this won’t work for long and try to breath slowly - like sleep. Seconds seem like hours. I open one eye, nothing but shadows and not a sound. I open the other eye. I hear nothing not even the Buffalo breeze which usually wafts its way into my bedroom window to cool me down on hot summer nights like these.

Finally I see the slightest hint of daylight. I must have fallen asleep at some stage during the night I can’t remember when.

I wake bright eyed and bushy tailed, alive, feisty, excited, jump out of my bed. Surely Mum and Dad would be up too. I can see the slightest hint of daylight. I check the clock on the lounge wall. I decide 4 am is a good time for opening Christmas presents.

I dare not peek at the presents. I’m a good girl. Maybe a little look, a feel. I pick one wrapped in blue paper with angels all over and rattle it just a tad. My adrenaline pumps. I carefully place the present back under the tree. I run into Mum and Dad’s bedroom jump on the end of the bed and exclaim,

“Santa’s been, wake up, Santa’s been!” bouncing up and down so hard on the bed no one could possibly sleep, except Dad. He doesn’t even stir. He sleeps through my efforts to wake him. Mum rolls over and lifts her head slightly from the pillow looks at the clock and groans. Her voice sounds unusually deep and muffled. She says,

“C … ate …eee, it’s 4 in the morning, go back to bed. It’s too early.”

“Oh, but Mum Santa’s been already!”

“Now!

You’ll wake your Father” the threat sends me racing back to bed faster than a cut snake.

Back in my bed I pull the sheet up to my neck to stop the mosquitos biting my legs and arms. I take the sheet and wipe the beads of perspiration from my forehead and wonder why I have to wait so long to open my presents.

Eyes wide, I gaze up at the ceiling and see shapes in the shadows as the light creeps into my bedroom. I see scary, spooky faces, kangaroo reindeers mixed with witches holding wands and broomsticks, evil little men, fairy floss and lollies. One moment I’m scared out of my wits, the next I’m excited about Christmas.

My mind reverts back to that important question. What time is it now?

I jump out of bed, go to the clock in front of the lounge and sadly drop my shoulders as I read 4:20 am.

Drats! Still too early.

Back I go to bed.

This continues for the next half hour.

What was wrong with 4 am? It’s now 5 am for sure.

I check the clock again.

Nearly 5 am. Better than 4 am. Off I go back into Mum and Dad’s bedroom.

This time I Sneak up, crawl onto the bed ever so gently, quietly and take a peek at Mum’s closed eyes. Dad mumbles something I can’t understand but Dad’s scary so I sneak back out of the room and wait to 6 am.

At 6 am on the dot I rush into Mum and Dad’s bedroom yet again and know I am safe this time. Dad is always up at six so he would be awake.

I make Mum and Dad a cup of tea and take it into the room. Then I realise my mistake, it may take too long for Mum and Dad to drink the tea so go to the tree and get some of the presents and bring them back into the bedroom dumping them on the foot of the bed.

“Can I open them now?”

“Oh I suppose so” says Mum.

I tear the wrapping from the first parcel. Socks, pants, shoes and a tank top with a card, love from Mum and Dad.

I try to look impressed “Thanks Mum, thanks Dad” as I smile without any real joy in my eyes.

Excitedly I open one present then the next. I look briefly at the pictures of a book and move to next present. A smile lights up my face as I stare in awe at the long blonde hair of a Barbie doll “her legs and arms can bend.” Mum smiles. Then I look up and catch a glimpse of something sparkling out our glass doors.

“What’s that sparkling Mum?”

With an excited emphasis Mum says, “Ewoooh! I don’t know? You better go and have a look”

I run outside and find,

“My bike! My bike! Santa got me my bike” with a smile that could light up a whole world.

The end.
Zakgirl Copyright ... 2nd December, 2004.