Last week was the first opportunity we had had to get away for a proper break. Since diagnosis for Inflammatory breast cancer in March 2012, it has been hard if not impossible to find time, energy, money and absence of appointments to organise something, so last week was something of a first. The first break since diagnosis. It’s a big deal and it felt strange. Unable to do the normal things, I felt frustrated and quite emotional at times. This post active treatment phase is also a strange time, dealing with submerged emotions that rise out of the water like icebergs, ready to sink my Titanic.
Coming home is a bittersweet experience. Sweet because home is somewhere I actively enjoy spending time and bitter – well, the end of a holiday is always a little sad, I think. But sadness doesn’t adequately describe the emotions apparently felt by our youngest cat, Bunty. We arrive with bags, Dog and exhaustion and she greets us with shouting and much getting under our feet. She has put on weight. Is this comfort eating, we wonder? She accompanies me everywhere. If I go to the toilet, she sits outside and waits for me before escorting me elsewhere. At night, she is a positive danger as she weaves her way in and out of my legs. She will not be separated from me and sleeps on me at night, claiming me for her own. We have never left her without a human in the house before. She has Freya for company but Bunty has issues with Freya and will not speak to her. She had a human coming in at least once a day to check up on her but I imagine her, wan and listless, looking out of the window, sharpening her claws and wondering exactly when we would be home, shunning the substitute human as inferior. This is the cat who lashes her tail if you stop scratching her head and who bites the hand that feeds her if it strokes her too much. The cat who launches herself at Dog with alarming regularity like a small, furry Kamikaze so one feels sorry for him as he cries and runs away from her. The cat who was found in a cavity wall in Putney and has reduced our wooden bed to resemble something eaten by termites by continual claw-sharpening. It is quite touching to see a heart does beat beneath her furry exterior. She is a little devil and we are clearly here to serve her. Or so she thinks.