It is January. My cat Izzie is under the bed. We lost power this morning at 7am, and the power company says it will be restored by 7pm. It is 4:30, and already so much has happened. We are experiencing a Nor’easter, and “bombgenesis” cyclone, a perfect storm that is creating a blizzard with 80 mph winds. Luckily, it is only the power that is out, and the apartment is still standing.
Neighbors arrived bearing soup, and another neighbor arrived, bringing hand warmers, and also her dogs. My two cats were startled, and the two dogs were excited, and after a while, it was decided the dogs would go home, but everyone else would stay for soup. I had been to a market earlier in the week, and had brought back focaccia and fried zucchini. I added that to the tomato soup, with some rasam powder seasoning, and we ate happily.
But it proved too much excitement for Izzie. While her mother hid under the chair, and some of the neighbors left, I made tea. Izzie snuck upstairs, and letting out a cry of anguish, peed on the bed. Now, luckily, because Izzie had been sick, and had lately taken to soiling my bed, I had taken the precaution of covering my bed with a shower curtain. She had been doing very well, but the combination of cold, blizzard, wind, strangers and dogs must have pushed over, and there I was, swabbing away with paper towels. I bundled everything up—nothing had seeped!— and took everything to the trash outside to toss.
That was when the blizzard wind got a hold of, tearing everything out of my arms. Without a coat, I plunged into the falling snow , managed to retrieve everything, get it all in the trash, and came back inside. I washed up, changed my wet clothes, after saying goodbye to my remaining stalwart neighbor.
I lit a candle ( the power was still out) plugged my phone into my laptop to charge it, and took up my book, Tears of the Giraffe, book two in the No. 1 Ladies Detective agency series. I had reached a part that concerned some treachery contemplated to break up the happiness of the heroine, a woman who had completely entered my heart. I did not want anything bad to happen to her. I turned to the last pages of the book , to see if I could glean the way the plot might go, but feeling guilty, returned to my place in the book.
So I began to write up this day, to forstall returning to the book, even as the light outside is fading.
I hope the lights return. I hope my cat gets better. I really hope my heroine isn’t in too much danger.
And here it is, more than a month later. It is March. Izzie got better, and her litter box manners have transformed back to old routine. The book was satisfying in its plot twists. But the biggest plot twist was to arrive. Before the month expired, a crushing war ensued. Everything else was pushed aside.
Now I read the papers three or four times a day online. We are day eighteen into a nightmare. I try to imagine what it must be like to live in a suburb, walk to the shops to get a paper, bread, tea, and have everything destroyed in an instant. To witness falling mortar, hospitals shelled, children killed, women and men killed. I think of surban NJ, of towns I have lived in all over the States, the little shops, the green parks.
Today, my heater stopped working, and a neighbor helped me start it again. Others helped me get the gas company to visit on a Sunday. I went to the radio station and found the entryway frozen, and had to wait for a friend to bring a key. I tried to go to a concert in the afternoon, but got the date mixed up. Instead, I filled my car with gas for fifty dollars, and drove home. I made dinner, and Izzie began to knead her paws onto the throw. I realize with an accute clarity how lucky I am to be here, and how fragile our luck is.