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Jaffa,my cat, has been real company for the solitude that I’ve chosen as my lifestyle.

The fact that I live alone means that Jaffa only comes into contact with only one human being most of the times,and that has its own implications;I sometimes neglect him since I also got my own things to do!

I came to learn about the word chutzpah from an Indian movie.

Chutzpah, in simple terms,means that there is nothing out there stopping you from doing whatever you want to do,irrespective of the consequences.

Let me illustrate: there is this solo bank robber who holds up a bank by passing a little note to the teller which demands that he empties his till into a provided paper bag. This is done pronto as he is armed. Having done that,he then carries his paper bag full of bank notes into a cashier’s window in the same bank and demands that the whole loot is deposited into his bank account! He then walks out of the bank door just as the cops who have been alerted by the robbed teller are coming in to arrest him. But he doesn’t have any money on him. It is both hilarious and complicated to the bank staff and the sceptical cops! That’s what I call Chutzpah,and Jaffa has it all,and more.

There were thousands of things I was certain would be impossible for me to ever do again after leading a complicated life that drained all my energy and enthusiasm for trying new things(that’s a story for another day!)

Jaffa’s attitude was what I needed to get on my feet again.

But that required believing I could actually learn from a cat.

I learned that the word “impossible” was nothing other than a word, which only carried meaning if I allowed it to.

Jaffa believed nothing was impossible.

And by watching him, nothing was.

At the beginning of my life after my ‘big failure’, I saw obstacles as just that – obstacles.

And therefore put them on my “can’t do” list.

But Jaffa never accepted obstacles as anything
other than challenges.

He opened cabinets by putting his paws around
the knobs and pulling.

My after-shave bottles made great rattling noises in the bathroom on crash landings.

I bought child-proof magnets at the hardware
store.

Jaffa simply tugged a little harder.

Back to the hardware store for hook and eye locks.

Jaffa flipped the hooks open with one paw.

Back to the hardware store for deadbolt locks.

He easily slid those bolts to the side.

The guy at the hardware store already had
combination locks on the counter in anticipation of my next visit “for something slightly different” in way of effective locks. He always looked amused about the stories of my “strange cat”,his words,not mine! They at least helped a little.

I was in awe of Jaffa’s tenacity.

By watching him, I learned that words like “can’t” and “hopeless” were just not in his feline vocabulary.

When I’d see a barrier that would prevent me from getting to where I wanted to go, I’d instantly turn around.

This happened recently when I decided to
surprise Daisy,my regular partner, with her favourite bacon, egg and toast breakfast sandwich.

She has a way of scrambling great breakfasts for me,I just wanted to repay back her kindness one fine Saturday morning.

The first lot got the toast burnt up into charcool texture,I’m not a very good chef when I multitask such simple things like whistling my favourite song as well as watching over the grilling toast!

I helped myself to the first lot as a way of ‘destroying’ the evidence before Daisy woke up from her blissful morning slumber to ‘witness’ my horrible breakfast for her!

I was lucky on the second one.

She was really taken in,not knowing I had knots twisting in my protesting gut after helping myself to the first horrible lot,and feigning to enjoy my second helping when sitting at the breakfast table with her that lovely Saturday morning.

I credit Jaffa for my newly found Chutzpah!

He never gives up.

Yet when barriers thwarted Jaffa, he’d never quit trying.

He’d never give up and turn around like I’ve done so many times after encountering barriers.

Every morning, I’d wake to the blaring sound of
Nairobi traffic reports.

That’s because Jaffa learned to push the button on my bedside clock radio.

He wants to wake me so he’d get fed.

Yes, of course I’ve tried moving the radio.

He would simply hunt for two seconds and find it.

Yes, of course ive tried covering it with books on my bedside reading table carefully
placed perfect angles.

Jaffa simply shoves all the books off at once.

There was no way to stop him.
So I did the only sensible thing and locked it in, in one of bedside drawers.

I got rid of the clock radio recently by gifting it to a friend after I lost Jaffa.

It was too much of a memory to keep around my bed.

What else could I do with a cat like
Jaffa? (I heard that similar despair from a close friend of mine!)

To him, anything could fall into the toy category.

He’d unravel entire rolls of toilet paper and play around with the shards whenever he gets bored. I then had to keep it in an empty Nescafe coffee can.

One day years ago, he found something else that will surely go down in the “History of the Best Cat Toys” book.

I was on the phone with a friend, Eddie.

I had barely said “hello”.

That’s when Jaffa came running in with something in his mouth. He had opened the new box of tampons that Daisy bought that morning.

He was flinging the tampon in the air like it was a toy mouse,the stringed end excited him most.

My friend asked if I was all right because not only had I stopped talking barely after greeting in astonishment of this vulgar play, I was
having an earsplitting laughing fit that I just could not control!

He assumed I was having a traumatic stress reaction for living alone and said, “When you live one, you’re often not in control of your emotions and that’s okay. It’s fine to
laugh.”

Living alone with Daisy in my house for a weekend sleepover?

That cracked me up even more.

I managed to blurt out, ” Shh! Daisy is here!!” before seeing the tampon go flying across the room.

Then I hung up — on my friend to let out pearls of laughter.

For the past two years, Jaffa has been sick after a violent encounter with a neighbour’s that almost amputated his tail and disfigured a side of his face.

Ive spent lots of time massaging him on either side of his face.

He always loved that.

On one afternoon, I used my fingers to comb through his lovely full set of whiskers he had eventually grown.

That’s when I saw the one side effect from the medicine he was taking.

As I gently rubbed along his face, all of his whiskers came off in my hands, except for one.

I placed them in a tiny needlepoint purse my partner made for me.

He came into my life with one whisker.

And,presumably that is how he would leave.

Three months ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I kissed his forehead and whispered, “I love you.” He looked up at me.

His face showed the love he was never successful at hiding.

As Daisy softly sang, “Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard ,” Jaffa took his last
breath
.
While his body was still warm, I cradled him in my arms and rocked him. I held his head so he was nestled against my neck. I said, “You came into my life when I needed you the most.”

Daisy was crying as She stood next to us, watched me rocking my little soul mate. “Jaffa,” I could barely speak. “You will
always be a part of me.”

I didn’t want to let him go from my arms.

But Daisy, so lovingly and slowly, gently took him away.

And so, I honor the life and the lessons of my
wonderful cat who, from the beginning, stood apart from all the others.

My beautiful cat, my Jaffa, just a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly,but always so special to me.

There will never be another “Jaffa”,though Daisy hastily got me another kitten and named him Jaffa to console me for my loss.

That’s Chutzpah,but I learnt the true meaning of Chutzpah from my departed soulmate,Jaffa.

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

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