I felt the break deep within me. Only back then I didn’t really understand it. Now though, older and wiser, I’ve many things to liken it to. Take this egg for example. It’s whole but once suddenly dropped it breaks into pieces and reveals what’s inside. Granted the egg is not alive and can’t display nothing of what has happen to it. Imagine if that egg was a child though.
That was how I felt with Ocean died. We were whole, we were one, we were mirror images of each other. Ocean and Haven, Haven and Ocean, sea and harbour, together forever.
It’s twenty years ago today. We were eight years old and troublemakers, but in the nicest of ways. A storm had hit our seaside village. The wind and rain had been raging all day and I remember seeing and hearing the sea look so wild and scary. I don’t think I cried, but I made my fear plain enough. I recall Ocean saying she wouldn’t leave me as she put a comforting arm around me.
We shared a room that had two single beds in it, but that night we settled into one. I think it might have been mine. It didn’t matter anyway as both beds were either side of the window. Ocean and I had often shared a bed, seeking the comfort and warmth of each other.
I had to go the bathroom. I remember that so clearly. Getting out of the bed, I left Ocean sleeping, thinking I’d be back soon. There was a massive crash and the sound of glass breaking. Everything shook around me and I fall to the floor. Things were rattling and all I could hear was the storm roaring in my ears.
They said it had been a freak accident. The tree had fallen into the house and taken half of it down. They said it would have killed us both, but for the fact that the bathroom was on the other side of the hallway. I hardly remember it, but for the image of the house torn in two and the fact that the other back seat in the car next to me was empty.
I asked after her often, ‘where is Ocean, ma?’ ‘When is Ocean coming back, da?’ ‘I miss Ocean.’ Of course, I knew the child version of death, but to me Ocean had said we’d always be together and that surely meant she was going to come back. Didn’t it?
My new bedroom only had a one bed and actually thinking about it from then on there was only one of everything. For ages, my parents let me set out another place at the table, buy two teddies or dolls or toys and doubled the presents at Christmas.
The years passed and passed, but I’ve never felt the same since that night. It’s always seems like a piece of me is missing and no matter what I do I can’t find it.
He heard the howling every night like clockwork. It seemed to start up soon after sun down and as he was settling down to sleep. At first there’d only be one voice, a lone call into the night. He’d go to his shuttered windows, open one and look out. Of course, there was nothing to see or be seen in the pitch blackness. He’d wait and listen to that mournful singing.
Another howl would start up soon afterwards, answering the first and more would join. When the whole pack finally joined, the sound would send chills up his spine. He would cover up the window once more and go to sit before his small fire, knowing he’d just naturally reacting to the call of wild animals. He would do a bit of sewing; mending a fishing net or sock. If he felt awake enough he would do a wood carving; making little animals and people.
He’d get ready for bed and the wolves’ song would follow him still. It always caused him to think about them gathered in the small mountain range on the hunt. He’d never actually seen a wolf. His cabin was too far down the river and they never strayed that far. A few times he thought he’d come across where they had been, but with some many other predators in the forest he could never be sure.
Settling into bed, he pulled out a battered old, Bible and read from his marked page. The light from a gas lamp flickered next to him and he traced the words with his fingers. He also had to speak aloud because he had never learned to read probably. He’d had some schooling, but there’d always been so much else to do. The words he said mingled with the wolves’ song and made him think that maybe they were praying too.
He closed the book and placed it back on the stool next to his bed He turned out the gas lamp and lay in the glowing firelight from the dying fire. He watched shadows crowded across his ceiling and he listened to the sad howling song.
I don’t know what it is, nor why the humans seemed so fascinated by it, maybe it’s because it smells so awesome? Humans aren’t really known for their sense of smell though, not unless you did something stinky in the corner or brought something already decayed inside. Those things just can’t be helped though and don’t humans have an indoors room where they go about their business anyway?
Perhaps, if my kitten-hood had been different I would have known about this event called ‘Christmas.’ I was born wild and rescued- reluctantly, I might add- from the abandoned farm shed, my mother had decided to call home. My memories of that place are dim, but I remember the animal shelter well enough. Thankfully, I got rescued –very willingly, of course-from that place and now I have a good home with two big and one little humans.
When they first brought the tree in, I hide and shyly watched them from behind the table leg. They put the tree in a bucket placed in the corner of the big chairs room and seemed very excited about it. Next, there came the boxes filled with wonderful objects. I was eager to investigate, but stayed away because of all the noise. I’ve only just gotten use to the kitchen machines. It’s the rolling, sucky monster that scares me the most though. Why must humans have everything so clean all the time?
They put the objects on to the tree, chatting loudly, though the only words I understood were; tree and lights. The human vocabulary is still beyond me. After a very long time, in which I took a nap and ate the rest of my breakfast, they were finished and had come away. Ignoring me, they went about their day and I stalked the tree. Some objects were low enough for me to smell and touch. Light bounced off shinning balls and other things I don’t know the names of.
I pressed my nose to one of the balls, it moved gently. I touched it with my paw and it moved more. Ah! A game! Just like the humans tease me with toys. Batting the ball about, I spun to the floor, laying on my back and play biting the ball as I pressed all my paws to it. Rolling to the side, the ball came with me and I jumped in surprise. The ball trundled away and stopped. I stared, then took up my pounce stand and went after it. Grabbing the rope at the top, I threw it and the ball landed in the tree branches.
Glancing about, to make sure the area was still clear, I dived after it and straight into the tree. The leaves stung me, though not painfully and I forced my way through and climbed to the top. Balancing there, I could see the whole room and actually, if I moved down a few branches, I could nestle inside the tree and still perfectly see. Maybe, the humans brought this in here for me? Though it’s not as comfy as my bed basket and the ‘toys’ are not as good as my mice or feather stick, but still, I could get use to this.