Her name was Kiki. She came to us through friends of my parents, and we were utterly inseparable from the moment we met. We had a kinship I feel very hard to define, much less explain. It might be as simple as saying she had seen her fair share of problems in her life, and came out a survivor. I have never failed to be drawn to a fellow survivor, and Kiki met every definition of one. She was wary, watchful, and grateful just to have food to eat. Not that having readily available food and drink made her trust us more, but there was something about me she responded to, and I in kind, felt the same. Because of this, every day after school, damn near every spare moment I had, Kiki was with me.
She was pregnant, of course. We had found out only a few weeks after Kiki arrived that she had come to us pregnant. This did not please my parents. However, they were not willing to throw her out in the cold, and for the most selfish of reasons. They wanted to look good for the friends who had asked them to assist her. However, this was not the only reason they were extremely displeased to be housing her.
Kiki and I were too close, pure and simple. They thought with Grandma Scott out of the way, they could torment me, and with my twin on their side, finally see success after ten years of effort that had never paid off. It took them awhile to realize this was not going to happen with Kiki there. She made me happy, happier even than my Grandmother had, because she was always there, right beside me.
Happiness was not exactly the dominant emotion I had experienced in my ten years. Kiki was a welcome change to how I viewed my future. My mind had been occupied with the upcoming trials and tribulations I was sure to face; Kiki took that all off the table.
Kiki made me see that there is always someone who has it worse. In doing so, she taught me that I needed to be humble, never comparing my journey with another. I fall down sometimes on that, and I’m woman enough to admit it, but for the most part, I try to stick with it. Kiki was not the first mind I encountered with pure love for those around her, but it is one of very, very few.
Simplicity and love are a potent force when mixed together to any given psychic who senses it. It is not something I see a great deal of because we all know love is complex. You can love and hate someone at the same time. You can fear, respect, and love all at the same time. You can love, but hate the circumstances surrounding your relationship. Kiki just loved, and I loved her with the same devotion she showed me. I would have done anything for her, anything to keep her with me.
She didn’t think I was a freak, you see. She accepted me warts and all. Kiki never thought I was a slut, whore, or freak. She saw my impatience, my anger, and all my other flaws, and she did not care. This was new to me. Even Grandma Scott had tried to point out my flaws so that I might work on them and make progress forward. Kiki just saw me for who I was, and didn’t give a rat’s ass. Nor did I care what others thought about me and Kiki, even after she had her children. My father had been thinking of what way might best break us apart, so that he could then break me. Unfortunately, all the ammunition he needed was my best friend herself.
Happiness can sometimes rob people of their sight. So blind to what is going on around them, that they neglect to look beyond their happiness to others reactions. I was blind when it mattered most. I never closed my “eyes” again.
I found her in my closet nursing her children. When she looked up at me, I noted in horror that one of her eyes was not only crusted with blood, but literally had turned around in her head. She looked crumpled somehow, and she was in terrible pain; I could sense it. I screamed for my father to come. He sauntered in with a smile on his face.
My father told me that Kiki had almost tripped him earlier that day, so he had snatched her up and thrown her as hard as he could against a wall, then watched her drag herself painfully and slowly into my room, to mind her offspring. Her mortal wounds were the result of my sire.
I had hated my father my entire life.
I had wanted to kill him countless times in my life.
Never until that moment had I actually contemplated doing to him what he did to my beloved Kiki. My hatred evident, my father smiled still wider. I was not small for my age, but we both knew though I had knocked him over, bit him, scratched him, pounded at him with all the strength my small hands could muster, and on one memorable occasion rendered him incapable of movement, this was not the same.
My father saw real murder in my eyes, and he laughed. Then he left me to gaze upon his handiwork. Tears had never been acceptable to me before. They granted power to those who would surely use it against me at a later date. They showed weakness, and to survive, one must never show weakness.
As I hesitantly put my hand out to stroke Kiki, tears are what fell, unbidden, down both cheeks. I gingerly stroked her head, and Kiki began to purr loudly. I didn’t realize I was sobbing helplessly until my vision gave way altogether to the torrent of tears clogging my eyes.
I sat with her all night.
I stroked Kiki and comforted her as best I could. I only moved to bring her food and water, which she could not eat. When she soiled herself, I gently cleaned her…and on her kittens slept, full of her good milk and comfortable in the warmth of her now bedraggled fur.
She purred on and on, though the purring had the quality of an engine that will soon give way.
When my parents entered my room in the morning, I was still with Kiki, still awake, holding on for as long she and I had left. When they told me I had to go to school, I refused. When they tried to move me, I fought like an animal, inflicting scratches, bites, and bruises wherever I touched them.
They gave up, and so it was me and Kiki again.
Throughout that day, a day that stretched like eons, I was there for her as she had always done her best to be there for me. As dusk fell, my father entered my room again with a friend of his, who proceeded to grab Kiki. My father held me off as his friend took Kiki away. I was exhausted, tear stained, and simply did not have it in me to fight anymore.
I heard the shotgun blast less than five minutes later.
I honestly don’t remember the days and weeks after. I suppose I went to school, did homework, came home, ate, and went to bed. I just don’t know, and I do not speak to my parents about that time. What I remember is that my father truly believed he had found the key, broken me.
When I finally awoke from the grief and mourning, he found out this was not so. There was nothing to restrain me now, nothing to use against me, and my hatred only lent me strength. My father found himself looking up at me from our kitchen floor. All I know is that he said something sneering yet smug about Kiki to my face. My fist answered him before my mouth, which was a minute or two behind. I told him he would continue to pick himself up off the floor if he talked about her again. Of course I was beaten within an inch of my life, but hell, that only meant a couple weeks at home, where I did homework and read my favorite books; not much of a punishment at all.
The look in my father’s eyes changed. He knew that I was only going to get older, and bigger. He remembered the murder in my eyes, and while I cannot and will not say I was never beaten again, I most certainly can say it was nowhere near as often. Something had changed in me, shifted, perhaps even clicked into place.
To know good, sometimes it’s best to experience what evil can do first. The manner in which this happens might vary, but the results never do. Everyone has psychic ability, and nearly everyone is aware of some situations where it wouldn’t do to press things too far; my father was no different. He was fully aware that something had shifted in me, though he didn’t know what it might mean. Only that it might be painful for him to attempt to learn further.
My mother never said one word about it. She didn’t participate, but she didn’t attempt to stop him at any point either, and for that, I hated her. To this day, I can handle anything you throw at me, verbal abuse, physical abuse, you name it, and I know I will survive. Obviously I don’t deal with physical abuse today, but verbal abuse is a psychic-medium’s best friend. I can take care of myself just fine. However, if you fuck with the elderly, children, animals, or my clients, I’ll attempt to stick both feet so far up your ass, I promise you will know what it is like to have someone’s toes tickle your tonsils. Not being a particularly nice person, I plan to wear cleats. Titanium tipped cleats.
Is it odd that my best friend was a cat? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that it took a cat to teach me what real love is. Kiki taught me what it is to survive in unthinkable circumstances, and she taught me how to do so with grace and dignity. She taught me what motherhood should be. Kiki laid there in great pain, knowing she didn’t have long left, that she would not survive her injuries. She nursed her kittens, and then, as best she could, she washed them. Kiki did not let her pain take over and lash out, not at her kittens, and not at me.
This was a crucial lesson for me. I often ask clients who they are most likely to take their anger or frustration out on. The stranger on the street, or those they love the most? The answer on that is fairly universal, but it does tend to show us that we have a choice in expressing anger. Alienating those closest to you isn’t likely to help you solve the issues at hand. Assaulting a stranger, while tempting, won’t solve your problems either.
Kiki would have been well within her rights to abandon her offspring, go off into a quiet corner and die, as cats often do. Kiki could have attacked me when I gingerly stretched my hand out to stroke her. Yet she did none of this. She was in unbelievable pain, yet she did not strike out when given numerous chances to do so.
I often wonder how many of us could have the moral fortitude that this shy, sweet cat did. I know I could not and would not have managed to restrain myself from lashing out before Kiki entered my life. Even now, having experienced nothing approaching what she did, I still don’t always manage to control my temper towards those I love. But I can say because Kiki entered my life, I restrain myself far more than I would have without her.
Kiki taught me that friendship is a two way street where each supports the other for the benefit of both. Friendship means acceptance, warts and all. Kiki accepted me as I was, without expecting anything in return. Total acceptance is rare to locate, much less hold onto nowadays, when it seems the world is more bent on what one has, far more so than who and what one is. It is worth having. Those of us lucky enough to experience unconditional love and acceptance once or twice know it for what it is, and extend the favor in kind to those of our choosing.
Kiki opened my eyes to what a person should be. I realize that this is something that I should have learned at my Grandma’s feet, but Grandma had her own scars, bitterness, and prejudices, learned over a lifetime of hurt. I don’t wish to say my own grandmother wasn’t a good person; I wish to say she was a real person. True reality means coming to grips with your own faulty nature, and my grandmother was as in touch with her own as with mine.
I strive to follow the example of what a good person should be, knowing that I will never accomplish it. In so many cases, continually striving for a thing is just as important, if not more so, as gaining it. That it was a cat who modeled this might be ironic, but doesn’t make it any less true. Nor was what I sensed as she laid there, knowing she was dying and doing her best to comfort me and her offspring.
Kiki had shown me grace and dignity in unimaginable circumstances. Perhaps more importantly, she showed me that anger from pain inflicted should never be used against those you love. It took a cat to show me what path I would follow, and because a cat was all I had to trust, I’m sticking with the lessons she taught me.
Many would find it difficult to believe; that a cat pointed me in the direction my life must take.
A cat who had survived on her own, seen it all, and didn’t expect her life to improve much.
A girl who was foulmouthed, disrespectful, and fought because fighting was the only thing she knew.
The diamonds in this world of coal are those who know otherwise.