an omen, a full day, a creepy walk in the cemetary

So many things to say about the things in the above picture.  But before I do that, let’s set up the day:

I saw fresh flowers. Fresh, I-just-picked-’em-and-plopped-’em-in-this-glass flowers.  They sat on my friend’s desk in a tiny shot glass with some pink tulle packed behind them as their curling backdrop.  Too, they sat on a table in the teacher’s lounge of the village school.  They openned up their petals at me, they shocked me with Spring.  I don’t know their names, only that they are the first flowers of the first Spring I think I’ve ever really noticed.  I haven’t seen one growing yet.  I am still waiting to see one rooted in the dirt, but now I know they are out there in the fields.

We had our second and third HIV/AIDS forums in two different villages. I stayed in one village with a translating friend of mine and helped two brave students stand up in front of their peers throwing out such thorny ideas as community responsibility and The HIV/AIDS ABC’s of Sex while their peers threw tiny pieces of paper at the backs of each others’ heads.  The day before, after seeing a student jokingly mimic condom use with a piece of plastic wrapper and a couple of fingers I thought two things: “Lord, please send an angel to teach him how to actually do that before he touches another female”, and “I would never EVER have volunteered for this at fourteen.”  All best laid plans aside, these kids are currently my heroes.

While my heroes were teaching, their peers reminded me how obstreperous (sorry… studying for the GRE) school monsters children can be.  So I arrived back at the office, my mind roiling with pride and manager’s distress.  I watched THIS incredible (amazing, mind-blowing, etc.) OK Go video with my Armenian counterpart and prepared to go home when I got a call from Artak at Hay Post to pick up these packages.

Let’s take a moment to look at these again:

Mailed out on January 30 and February 2 respectively. I am floored by the thoughtfulness of their contents.  Wool yarn. Chunky yarn, people.  Yes, I knit.  And yes, I can’t find a chunky wool yarn here to save my life.  Yes I already started making a scarf with it.  DICE (Ok, John, I’ll give you some).  PUPPY CHOW (cue days of eat-it-save-it-eat-it-save-it-eat-it-save-it).  There’s bean dip and little cups of ranch. And hand written letters from Aunt and Grandmother.  Իմ սիրտ. Այ քեզ…

Now let’s consider the cruel humor of the universe.

32 days after Sister sent it.  5 days after my pokrik Sanity disappears into Spring-tide mist, I receive the ex-pat cat owners dream package.  There are more kitten goodies in this box that you could find in all of my entire region.  There are heartworm pills and ear syringes.  There is a cat laser toy.  Do you know how many shops and underground, intersection malls, and shuka stands I have searched looking for a laser pointer?

And look; there it is.  There’s Whiska’s cat treats and dangling feathery doodads dangling.  There’s a cat brush in there and a cat dish.

And there is no cat.

I went straight home to go search again.  Despite the threatening drips of raindrops, the grey-clouded countdown of the last few hours of sunlight, I grabbed the tin-can cat dish, scooped up some cat food and began another neighborhood search.  (That last kilo of cat food has become one of two of my last-hope connections to Sanity.  The other is the cat pan, still holding an inch of dirt and two cat turds, still laying on the floor under the corner table.)

I walked the neighborhood, shaking the tin-can, hoping the shhka shhka shhka shhka  would call her to dinner, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t notice the crazy american.  I walked around the corner to the entrance of the cemetary that I can see from my own doorway.  Shhka shhka shhka shhka.  I walked on tiny trails between decrepit graves in the twilight.  Asking for it, I know.  Shhka shhka shhka shhka shhka.  I jumped at the quick flutter of a brown bird departing from creeping branches that undoubtably serve as zombie arm extensions.  The tree roots surely wrap around decomposing arms.  Shhka shhka shhka.  The true creepiness of this cemetary deserves it’s own blog entry.  But wrapped up in the darkening grey evening, exiting the cemetary I jump again at the bark of a much to near dog sounding from over a fence.  Peaking over I see the over-sized beast with the deforming mark of Armenian sheers that some years ago shaved his ears to the skull.

All creepiness aside I remember two nights ago standing at my door and hearing the unbearable squeal of a cat in pain coming from this newly discovered dog’s direction.  I can only guess by the severity of the sound, the dog ate the cat.  I am still forcing myself away from the possible, personal conclusion.

Leaving the earless dog, shhka shhkaing back to my house, I returned to eat lavash pizza rolls dipped in cups of ranch.  I thumbed through the Cat Fancy and delighted in the strange overly-concerned, overly-sunny world or this kind of pet lover, one that includes posed pictures of Peterbald hairless cats and an article offering the merits of The Rainbow Bridge school of thought on cat death.  I have to say the centerfold of Birman cats creeped me.  But the article on library cats makes me want to be a librarian.

Still, did anybody see this, because I just did:

Right there.  The top headline on the cover.  Sister, did you send me a sign? Is this an omen?  Does this mean my kitty is coming back?  If so, does it also mean I’ll be living in this house for the next six years?  I cannot even contemplate this.  This day is too much. I’m going to bed.


  1. I love you and I hope your Sanity comes back.

  2. Jennifer

    Oh Brent! I really hope Sanity comes home. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with her being gone. I’m glad you got some awesome packages to spoil you for awhile. I’m proud of you for doing the HIV/AIDS talks, that is so brave and much needed. Way to educate them so they can protect themselves! Keep on going, you’re doing great! Remember, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good! Miss you and love you!

  3. Congrats on the trainings! SHNORHAVOR! Making an impression about sexual responsibility at a young age is sooooo good, especially here- it seems the lack of information here creates some strange morphed understandings of reality. You are MY hero!

  4. Lisa Hines

    Ok, that day was too much!!!

    I am really hurting that your Sanity is gone, aLond I hope she comes back! Is another cat a possibility?

    It warms and breaks my heart, all at the same time, the idea of you shhhkkaa shhkkaa shhkaa ing for the cat :( I can’t explain it.

    But seriously, you need to be a writter! Your writting style grabs my attention and makes me want to keep reading, and thats honestly hard to do!
    Love you, Sister

  5. […] friendlier.  Tomorrow, I’m bringing home a puppy.  I know, I know.  After my Sanity disappeared, I didn’t know if I could really handle taking in a new pet.  But the little beast and I met […]

  6. YES! DICE!

  7. […] but built her this nice little shack outside), and give her the morning bowl of soggy cat food (my Sanity’s leftovers).  She then proceeds to do her morning void, and I notice some irregularities.  I call my […]

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