j. l. navarro

Orange Groves














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The old woman stands outside my bedroom window calling her cat in a piteous tone, pleading like a spurned lover begging to reconsider their relationship, "Lilly?  Lilly, where are you?" 

 

I had seen the animal moments ago and paid careful attention to it because I had not seen it before.  It had a peculiar tail that was unusually short with a permanent crimp in it, making it look like a large fuzzy pipe cleaner bent in the middle.  On a day-to-day basis, a menagerie of cats, birds, and an occasional possum paraded past the window.  The fawn colored cat the woman sought had gone up the side of the hill, pawing through the dry crabgrass, then came down the paved path that was slashed across the middle of the hillside.  The woman appeared seconds later, speaking in a forlorn British accent, sad beyond consoling, looking for something that was no longer there.  

 

In the darkening twilight and tangled shrubbery, it would have been difficult to see the cat even if it had been standing directly in her view.  For all I know, it might have climbed higher into the carpet of discolored ice plants, looking mutely down at the old woman as if to tell her that their days together were at an end. 

 

The seasons of our life hold hurtful lessons that is sometimes difficult to understand, seeing no purpose or reason for the unforeseen events.  Losing someone you love is a lesson that passed my way at an early age.  Now that my hair is turning gray, I would like to think that life in not merely a compilation of random experiences, a catalogue of choices made, good and bad; but rather an amalgam of well-constructed karmic measures, meted out at appropriate moments, perpetrated on us by unseen forces for suitable reason, regardless of the circumstances.  This is as close to a cosmic idea of God as I can conceive without altogether fitting into the void of a confirmed atheist.  For a while, I tried living without religious faith, given over instead to existential secular philosophies, and always felt that something essential was missing, some crucial element that gave meaning to the less desirable experiences we endure before we are brought to the inevitable state of profound cold and deep physical stillness.

 

 Continues…

 

This story is included in The Blood Cake Vendor and Other Stories.

 































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