Whisper 2.18

Hey, Shannon.

Got your letter. Thanks. I like your response to the Stray Dog story–I sort of had a feeling you’d identify with him.

What you said about not wanting to be part of a dyad, though, surprised me. I mean, I get you on being an individual. But for me, I like being an individual within a series of domestic dyads. I mean, think about it: a dog and his girl. That’s an awesome dyad. A brother and his sister. Also awesome. An IF and her person. Very cool.

And then there was my mom and me. That’s maybe the most significant dyad I’ve ever been in–that’s the one that lets me connect with everyone now.


Are you saying that you never were part of a secure parent-child dyad, and that’s why you like being independent and, as you put it, “an individual I” more then “being half of a we”?

I remember what you told me about your mom. I guess that must have been hard. My mom was always there for me.

Well, not my birth mom. And I guess if I hadn’t been adopted–or been adopted by Mom–then maybe I might feel the same, too.

I wonder if that’s why it’s so important to me to adopt this stray cat.


I want him to get to feel what it’s like to be “part of a we,” and not just a solitary “I.”

I remember my birth mom. I never told you that before, did I. I never told anyone, not even Mom.

I remember breast-feeding. Funny thing to remember, but my fingers remember holding onto her. I remember softness. I remember how she smelled: like Vaseline, breast-milk, and cinnamon. I don’t remember her voice, but I know if I ever heard it–like on a recording or something–I’d recognize it immediately.

I can’t really compare my having lost her to what you experienced, for I had her, before I lost her. And then, after that black time I hardly remember at all, I had Mom. And, just the first look in her eyes, and my whole world fell into place. I had a happy childhood from then on.


I think I understand what you wrote about having to always fight to keep your solitude.

I might know what you meant about the pressure to be part of a couple. I felt that when the paparazzi started making a big deal about me and Chet when there was nothing between us but a few nervous flirts and one skittish dance. He was cute, and I went along with the hype that we were an “item.” But a dyad, we weren’t.

There were a lot of times when I just wanted to be me, without any pressure from the gossip columnists to be in a couple.

I can’t really imagine what it’s been like for you, all your life, to have people wonder what’s wrong with you that you’ve stayed single. What a weird awkward burden it must always be to be asked, “Why aren’t you in a relationship?” Like that’s the only normal.

I’m glad you were with me, when I was at college. I loved the private universe we spun around ourselves. I’d love it if you came–and I know you won’t and you don’t even want me to bring it up–but I’d love it all the same. And at the same time, I feel something like awe of you and your way of approaching life as a solitary.

I want to adopt Stray Cat–just like I wanted to adopt Stray Dog–because I want to give every individual a chance to have that closeness that I got when I was adopted by Mom. I want to be the one who provides the home, and I want all the single ones I love to be brought into that home.

I’d adopt you if I could, you crazy old lady!

I’ve been playing with Stray Cat every day. She and I have become BFFs.

And still, at the end of the day, when I head inside to make supper, she doesn’t come in with me. She walks across the street and into the frosted meadow.


You lonely tigers. Is it any wonder that I love you?


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