By Charles Pinch

For Frances

  You are troubled. I see it in your face. Do not despair. Perhaps the laws as we understand them are not straight lines but spinning circles. Perhaps a law is a whirling dervish. In time, when our certainties have pulled back when our profundities have backed down and cease to prove, the watercolor you admire above the mantelpiece is not what you covet after all and the candlesticks are objects of great mystery because we do not know what purpose for which they were intended. Brownie appeared on the rag rug with her fat tummy at nine seventeen this morning just as I was about to take the first sip of my second cup of coffee. Oh, she makes me laugh. Look at her roll about. Isn’t she a funny old girl? Now you just loosen up and laugh. The heavens are lightweight. Even if they fall on us we won’t feel it.

  You ask me why I am sitting here. Well, it is a place that is a good place to sit and wait. There are things in this room that might interest you, a person like you. Take that English watercolor over the mantelpiece. It was painted likely near two hundred years ago. Do you like it? Thought so. And those brass candlesticks? All the way from India. Yes, I thought you’d like them. And that cat with its fat belly on the rag rug. She looks to be five, six years old, doesn’t she? She died when she was fourteen. Oh, I’m puzzled too. Why did she choose to return at five or six? Perhaps that is the prime of life for a cat and therefore the best age as she sees it. No, I’m not drunk. Never touch the stuff. No, I haven’t double dosed on my prescriptive sedative. Look, it stares you right in the face. All you have to do is accept it. All you have to do is look the fragmentation of Salinger’s ‘intact f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s’ and the dissolution of Planck’s ‘organised chaos’ in the face and say ‘I do’. I said it as soon as I saw Brownie again. What does it all mean, you ask? How can it be real? How can a cat have nine lives and all we see is one? A seed isn’t a flower but without the seed there is no flower and without the flower there is no tautology. Oh, my. Please forgive me. I shouldn’t laugh. I laugh. I do laugh. I am pleased Brownie has returned from the dead because it means Time is pulling back on itself. Like pulling down a sheet on the bed before you climb in for the night. We live by laws but laws change. And it isn’t a great thing? I know Brownie is seven some years younger as you see her there on the rag rug than the Brownie who died last spring. Why do I know this? She has not lost the patch of fur near her tail that will happen when she is eight.

  Before I lost my cat I lost my husband. I say husband but he was not just my legal spouse. The man I was married to. He was so much more. Yes, my eyes are misting now, I am aware. Do not be embarrassed. Love, dear, is a wet emotion. Well, he was my heartthrob, you could say. Heartthrob, heartbeat. He was the blood that sang in my veins. But he died. Then my cat died. Now she has returned. You see her there, plainly do you see. How’s that? No mistake. No. No mistake. Because she has come back and I know now he is set to come back but I don’t know when. I guess with all the laws we so trusted to mind collapsing in on us and Time pulling back on itself his time has not come round yet.

You ask me why I sit here? Well, I am waiting. My cat came back and my husband will come back. All I have to do is wait.
Oh, I know.
Light. Light is such glory, such glory.
My eyes dazzle.
Do yours?

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