Brother Wax still hasn't looked at Saveola. he hits his marshmallow stick on the muddy monastic ground by the campfire by the lake. the magic marshmallows have disappeared from the stick.
Saveola: so that settled the argument. cuteness wins out in the end.
Wax: yes. it was simply too late, she was already integrated into the family, the large brooding cat and the spunky kitten would have to get along, they had to, my heart would break if they couldn't. i would let them out together on a rare occasion, let them stare each other down. the kitten had no fear, as young people tend not to, she gleefully pawed at the cat's wary face. the cat roughhoused the poor kitten, sliding her on her side and sticking his giant scary mouth onto her little head. must've been terrifying for the little kitten. she got up, though, each time, willing to accept this was how it was, ready for a big brother while said brother was pissed off at having to share his food, water, and litter. he was king for so long and suddenly the princess is born.
Saveola: why are you called Wax? it's not cos of the candles, that's too boring. it must be a complicated reason befitting a man such as yourself. still lake waters run deep. it's not that you appear like a wax statue to those you don't trust, never talking, only listening, that's insulting. is it because you wax philosophical? poetical?
Wax: i was worried when they "played", the cat had an obvious size advantage over the naive kitten. what he thought was ordinary play could injure the little one. it was a death game right before my red eyes. i was in fits. i still hadn't learned coping methods to life. i still hadn't found my divine default, Christ. what is yours?
Saveola stumbles around the rock she's sitting on, it's jagged and hurting her small butt. she moves a red hot water bottle closer to her feet. she keeps thinking to herself she might be the first human Wax has an interest in.
Saveola: coping strategy? i'm but a pup. test-taking, that's what i need it for. still learning, always learning, i'm young but not naive enough to think i'm not young.
Wax: i needed to get a new litterbox for the kitten, she was using a makeshift foiled lasagna pan filled with the cat's dusty sand. i panicked and had to improvise when i first got her, i wasn't sure i would get her in the first place. i went to the pet store to buy it but i really wanted to buy company. i needed advice. a beautiful woman, as all are, with eyes as crystal-clear-blue as the ocean by this monastery greeted me and instantly took my panic down a few pegs with her soothing voice.
Saveola writes in her green notepad I GUESS I'M NOT HIS FIRST :(
Wax: this woman sprung from the well of human kindness like an unexpected secret brook bursting forth to add to the river of life after finally eroding the rocks that were blocking it enough. it didn't have to be Carrie, caring Carrie, it could have been another goblin hellbent on adding to my cynicism of human nature and blowing me further away from society. but it was Carrie, thank Christ, a beautiful woman with a kind mouth whose words made my eyes meet with hers.
Carrie: don't worry, i'm here to help. this is what i live for, this is my calling, to douse the flames of pet-lovers' worry. i get pet lovers, i get their flame of passion, loving pets more than man, and doing everything to shield precious innocent pets from the low-hanging open-eyed brutality of man, who uses his intellect to lord over his place in the food chain rather than lead. the cat, the dog, is your son, your daughter, they keep you warm at night when the two-legs in your life are always busy, pets have no agenda other than to be there by your side. they forget when you forget to fill their bowl because you were busy working, they never hold it against you, they lick you in the morning just the same, they don't know nor want to know about grudges. they love perfectly.
Wax: Carrie touched my shoulder.
Carrie: don't worry, how can i help? you said on the phone you needed a new litterbox? easy enough, the open-aired starter one over there is the one to get, not too expensive, don't get one with a roof, not yet, she's too young, she won't appreciate that extravagance the way your cat does. all we have is blue, sorry about that, but you said she was a tomboy...
Wax: i'm scared about losing them. will i have to give up my beloved son to keep the kitten? no, not in a million years, he has been my only companion. and in this short time the kitten has grown on me, too, she's a part of me, she's a space in my heart i didn't know was a hole, i can't give her up, i'll do anything to keep them both, they are within me, my kin. when is the right time? how long do i have to wait before i can integrate them fully and not have to open and close doors anymore? i should have just done the shock treatment thing, huh. y'know, just immediately intoduce the kitten to the cat and let them figure it out, no hiding one from the other. it's so sad when i hear the kitten cry behind a door. she's in jail in there.
Carrie: don't worry, it will be okay. you have to separate them at first. don't give in to those mews, tough love, it's for everyone's benefit. it's not her prison, it's her safehouse. look at the cats we keep in their plastic spaces in the store here. see? they're sleeping. that's what she'll do, she'll go to sleep in the comfy bed in the room and not think another thought of discomfort. you have to take the longview. patience, patience, patience, it's sorely lacking in this sped-up world of ours, i make it a point to take spa days off during the week to recharge in silence. you have to get away from it all to continue with it.
Wax: i felt some other force guiding my lips when i said to Carrie: it's a good thing God took the longview with humans. Noah's Ark didn't have to happen.
Carrie smiled with her blue eyes.
Carrie: it most likely didn't. we humans are fascinating specimens, stumbling around thinking we know everything when we know nothing, but thinking we do, somehow faking it with guile and deceit. we must take a lesson from our guileless animal friends, they exist in the pure moment of now, they have no concept of time, no need to be somewhere or to be someone other than exactly who they are. they would make successful Buddhist monks if they cared to learn religion. never underestimate the power of instinct, it's more powerful than will.
Wax: once again a force allowed me to talk of force: it is a force endowed by a beautiful artist in the sky.
Carrie: are you using clay litter?
Wax: i have no idea. i don't pay attention to such things.
Carrie: for the kitten, it's not good to have a lot of clay and dust in the litter, they can ingest it. better to have organic litter. i recommend this brand.
Wax: i never felt more like a hippie one with nature than when i bought something organic for the first time.
Wax: separate scoop, too, i need that.
Carrie: i'll ring you up over here. it comes to some money.
Wax: i paid that money, whatever it was, money meant nothing to me, price was no object, my pointy ears were subjects. i asked Carrie, pled with her one more time to give me a concrete answer, concrete, not like the organic mush i bought: how long is this gonna take? two more weeks? a month? how gradual does it have to be? five minutes a day? ten? an entire swath of an afternoon?
Carrie: your heart will lead the way. it's different, every circumstance, every pairing reacts differently to each other. just trust that the cat won't injure the kitten, not intentionally, he's just playing, roughly. the cat has to maintain his dignity, he must be dominant at least for a couple weeks, roaming the areas of your house with authority, not giving in to the cute little mushball of another cat in the house. once that is established, and really the kitten has no choice but to accept the house rules, the cat will start to soften around the little one, he'll instantly get more mature about it and be less brash and more introspective, allowing the kitten to go wild around the house without much more thought or reaction.
Wax: when she spoke of HEART, i envisioned in my mind the statue of Jesus pointing to His Sacred Heart. i knew what she meant, what that meant to me.
Saveola draws four hearts at the top of her notebook page. in pencil.
Carrie touches Wax's shoulder at the end of the checkout line.
the smoke rising from the campfire is the perfect film screen.
Carrie: don't worry. have faith.
Wax: i left the pet store with more confidence, with hope. but hope is just the first step, actualization is the last.
Saveola: self-actualization is the ultimate. i hope my college years don't end up being a waste of time.
Wax: this report of yours is a sure A, that's a start, a first step. every journey begins with a first step, the key is letting someone push you to further steps along the way.
Wax carves something on the wet ground with his stick. circles. Saveola reaches for a tissue from out of her overalls pocket. she sneezes ferociously. her nose is runny and goopy with gold.
Wax: the high air gets to some people, messes with their sense of balance, with their allergies. my nose doesn't notice, it's steel from years of training and conditioning, i can smell things a mile away, that's how i detected you.
Saveola dabs her nose with the tissue and doesn't know where to put it now that it's used.
Wax: i did that, too. for years and years. for some reason i forgot how to blow my nose. when i'd get sick, i'd use the tissue only to wipe around the area of the nose and quickly throw the tissue away. i forgot to do the most important part, actually blow my nose to release all the mucus.
Saveola: it's gross.
Wax: yes it is, that's why my unconscious mind worked to forget it for me, i fought hard against instinct, but you have to let your body live, exist the way it was meant to, and not worry about anything else. it's freeing. blow.
Saveola inhales a huge breath in and lets a gallon of mucus spew out into the tissue and ground.
Saveola: i don't want to spoil this nature.
Wax: but everything's nature. throw your tissue into the campfire, its flame is cleansing, it mixes all of life together into one air which it expels into the ether, the place everything is bound for, like a sneeze, violent but then gone, the fire is
NATURE'S KETTLE, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
some silence passes between the young woman and the monk who hasn't moved an inch off his spot. but it is not awkward, rather reflective.
Wax: jacking off.
Saveola's cheeks turn red but they were already red from her cold.
Saveola (meekly): come again?
Wax: exactly. jacking off. jilling off. i do it, we all do it in the monastery, we don't talk about it but we know. well, Cotard talks about his. it's the only way we can survive inside the confines of this place. it's the only way we can continue. it's a great stress-reliever. endorphins and all that. it's natural.
keeping her runny nose hidden planted in her book, Saveola moves her hot water bottle closer to her socks. she takes off her socks and slides her bare feet into the mud and muck and lets out a sigh of relief.
Saveola: my cold's getting better as my body parts get colder.
Wax: you're adjusting.
TO BE CONCLUDED...