i don’t know why i didn’t think of this word in terms of arguing…i mean, there was a lot (a LOT) of fighting that went on in my childhood, between my parents, between us kids, between parents and kids. and goodness knows i’ve had some awful fights with pocketbrit.
but what this word made me think of was the the sense of fight we have in us. as in fight or flight. as in, that instinct that kicks in, that lights a fire in us. that sense of fight that sometimes ebbs away, when we become very old or very sick or very hurt.
the first association i had was to a song i really love, and i don’t really know why i love it like i do, why it speaks to me like it does. it was maybe when i heard it? what i was going through at the time? i don’t know. but the chorus of the song says “take me to the bar/where a sweet voice in the back of my skull, says/take me to the bar/and see if i can fight…take me to the bar/where a sweet voice in the back of my skull, says/take me to the bar/and straight to bed all night.”
and i guess i just pictured someone who had just been through a really, really hard time. who has not been up to their usual tricks, who had been on their own, who had not been themselves. and they are asking to be taken out for the night, as a test almost, to see if they can do it. if they still have that spark, that fight. and then, knowing how difficult it might be, that they’ll go home, exhausted, to fall straight to sleep.
i could relate to that, i guess. that sort of testing of oneself. in the early days, i felt like that a lot, about nearly everything. how will it be to go to the grocery store, driving a car, taking a shower, getting my hair done, getting a pap test, knowing what i know? how will it feel to work? how will i mother? what will it be like to see my old friends, the ones who knew my parents? will i still take on ignorance, like the person at the bar in the song? can i still fight?
everything felt different after remembering, every single thing, although i looked exactly the same in the mirror, and i couldn’t guess how i might be with it all. i’m still figuring it all out.
last summer or maybe fall, pocketbrit and i wrote a scenario (and then recorded it) about our first meeting at the sea; i wrote the first day, and she wrote the second day. in them, i came to her, and we rented a little cottage from a little old lady who left us her two dogs. we slept in two twin beds in a loft at the top of the cottage, and went for walks with the woofers, read, drank gin and tonics, took turns cooking meals, went and retrieved my lost luggage at the airport, and just got to know each other.
in her scenario, while we watched the sun set from the porch swing, i fall asleep against her shoulder. when she shifts, i wake up in that utter jet lagged confusion that comes when you don’t expect to fall asleep, and she puts a cushion on her lap, and pats it, and without any fight, i lay my head on it, and go straight back to sleep.
i don’t know why it’s my favourite part of that recording, when she says that. but i love it. just the thought that i could (and would) do that, the trust in it? her gentleness? i don’t know. but it brings a lump to my throat, tonight.
our old tabby cat’s life force has been wavering for months, but now, it is close to his time. the sass and the fight has left him, in his wake only a bony, confused body, cloudy green eyes, matted fur. he doesn’t clean himself anymore. he seems to forget where his litter box is, and is starving all the time (or has forgotten that he has just eaten?) he can’t jump or chase anymore. we used to delight in teasing him (and having him tease us back) but not now. he spends his days following us around, meowing plaintively. napping in odd places. still wants us close but not always sure how close.
but he still purrs, so so loud. and he still lets us hold him like a baby, and blinks his eyes slowly when we talk to him. we’re giving him all the bacon and yogurt he wants. we just mop up after him. we don’t want to argue. our fighting days are long over.