Today’s Life In The Swamp highlight involved three guys with shovels and ladders climbing onto my roof to rid it of fifty thousand pounds of snow, kept firmly in place by that glorious plague of modern life known as the ice dam. Whenever you see beautiful rows of icicles hanging off the side of the roof, just know that inside the home there’s probably corresponding water damage. As I’ve found out.
So today we’re not telling that story because I don’t want to think about what’s been taking place inside my walls where I can’t go with a thirsty towel. Instead we’ll talk about my cat. The cat we rescued almost two years ago after someone shot her in two places. That cat.
Although her past is a mystery, I’ve taken a guess. She was previously owned. (Spayed.) She was previously tossed into a closet or a bathroom for long periods of time, proven because she’s only recently dared enter the bathroom while I’m in it, even though that’s where we keep her food and litter. She was previously sprayed with water for discipline. She was not allowed on the bed. She may not have been allowed on the windows either: she never sits on the sill. She was not given proper medical care and was thrown away by her previous owners.
She hates the sound of the lawn mower and will huddle, terrified, in the very center of the house until the mowing is done.
Today, when three guys climbed onto my roof with shovels, the cat freaked out. Wide-eyed, she fled downstairs only to realize there was someone else shoveling on the deck. I called her, and she fled upstairs again. But half an hour later, she crept back down. She looked around the corner. She kept edging closer to the glass doors.
She can’t tell me her story. But the novelist in me wondered if she didn’t recognize one of the roofing guys. If she maybe heard his voice through the roof and then fled downstairs, and later, when they all clustered at the back to chip off the ice dams, if she didn’t sneak down, hiding where she could just barely see the deck and they couldn’t see her at all — trying to see her previous owner.
I can’t tell that story. I wouldn’t be able to get into her head, or render the backstory, or show any change. It’s just not fiction, and that’s a shame because sometimes I resort to fiction to answer the questions life never will.