One of my favorite scenes from a movie is the rabbit scene from Mighty Python’s, “The Holy Grail.”
These knights, covered in armor, are looking at a bunny rabbit hop around the entrance of a cave. Legend has it that the rabbit is a fierce beast that guards the cave.
“But it’s just a little old bunny rabbit,” one of the knights say.
He walks towards the cave entrance and the rabbit jumps up and bites off his arm. The entire army charges and the rabbit devours all of them in a matter of minutes. I guess you really have to see it to appreciate the humor in it.
In the Swiss apartment I now live in, I have my own little bunny rabbit. It’s a cat named Wooten.
Her favorite place to sit is on a bureau in the long foyer between my room and the bathroom. Her favorite time to do it is in the middle of the night, when I am half asleep, and walk to the bathroom. Her favorite thing to do is to leap into the air hissing and swiping her claws at me as I try to make it to a safety zone.
“She’s just a cat,” Heather tells me as I rearrange my walking pattern throughout the apartment so I remain at least ten feet from Wooten.
On a few occasions when I was laying on the floor or sitting on the sofa, Wooten walked over to me and sniffed my face or hand. My heart pounded like a drumstick hitting a base. She walked away without harming me but issued me a warning hiss saying that I might not be so lucky next time.
“I don’t know why you’re so scared,” Heather told me one day. “You’re wearing blue jeans and boots.”
Heather had a point and since Wooten’s attacks had decreased to two per day, I decided that maybe it was time I called a truce.
This morning as I was watching, “The Love Boat,” in French, wondering why I ever watched it in English, Wooten passed through my legs and rubbed her tail against me. She purred softly like one of those cats in commercials. It occurred to me that it might be time for me to take a chance and bend over and pet her. As I type this, blood is still pouring down my hand.
Six years ago, I decided to pet another cat called, “My Life.” I walked into work without any intentions of petting anything but after a karaoke luncheon in the office cafeteria, I realized that there was more to life than working 9 to 5. Or in my case, 7 to 6:30. So I quit my job without any plans except to pet life.
The past six years have been the hardest I’ve experienced. I’ve melted cheese on potato chips in celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas because I couldn’t afford anything else. I took hour and a half train rides to carry hundred pound trays of food for $10 an hour. And I spent days at a time in my apartment without speaking to anyone because I couldn’t face the truth that I had jumped off a high diving board and water was nowhere in sight.
I recently found out that two publishers are competing against each other to buy a novel that I wrote. It’s been three years since I first started typing the pages of the manuscript. I’ve spent months of hours researching things such as chicken judging contests, the 1970’s and the difference between a tap shoe and a jazz oxford. And until last week, I had no idea if it would ever be published.
I can see the water now but it is still far away. Far enough away that I sometimes wonder if I should have stayed on that diving board and searched for another route to get there. I know I can get to that water but have to keep reminding myself that I need patience, passion and strength. Which is why I've written this entry. Because I needed a reminder.
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to let my scratch heal before I try to pet Wooten again. But I have decided to stop walking the 50 extra steps to go through the living room to get to the kitchen in order to avoid passing her. I’m going to walk by the cat and let her know that although we don’t have to best friends, I will not let her push me around anymore. And of course, I’ll be doing this while wearing blue jeans and boots.