She sits in a pool of light--early morning, windows wide, the kind of light that's perfumed with mowed grass and burning wood in equal measure. The cusp-season. The space between the slow final exhale of summer and autumn's chilly inhalation. That moment that only lasts a moment. The light, a curious mixture of fading fire and honey. There is where she rests herself. The in-between spaces she favors.
She isn't easy, so she lets the light be easy. She glances at me when I turn over in bed, watching her. Her eyes phosphoresce. Wild, feral green. Pupils thin as paper. She glances at me, yawns, then reaches out--noticing me, noticing her. She isn't easy, so she waits for me to prove my love is worth it. She has held herself in check a very long time before offering her affection to me. Frida-Kahlo, my cat, my wise teacher of boundaries.
Learning boundaries is a lesson I've been taught and retaught all my life. The boundary of where I ended and my mother's body began. What belonged to me and what belonged to others. Stories I will share and ones I will not. When my heart will spill open and when it should stay firmly shut. Boundaries. You may, you may not. I take up this much space. Don't cross the line. You can have these pieces of me--you, I have tried to wipe all traces of off my skin. Boundaries as brokenness. Boundaries as saving grace.
When Frida came to me she was still a nursling--taken from her mother too soon for reasons beyond her control or mine. I went inside the trailer where she was, took in the worn green carpets, the peeling paint, the TV blaring, the naked kids running around the house, the young woman who was giving kittens away, crying and saying how upset she was to have to split them up so soon, but she was facing eviction. Crying because she was desperate. Overwhelmed. Sorry.
Frida was hiding inside a potted fern. So small I could fit her into the palm of my hand. Her mouth was ringed with mother's milk. "You don't want that one--it's the runt. Runts are always sick," the woman told me. But, I did want that one. The only one--though she hid from me. Though she would never be easy. She was the right one. The teacher, the spitfire, the runt. "...Frida Kahlo is a ribbon tied around a bomb." ~Andre Breton~ She is also my companion, my guide, and my sidekick...one who couldn't have been more perfectly named, though I didn't know it at the time. The one I chose. The one who chose me.