- Bryce McEfee
Zuzu Speaks: A Life Lesson From My Kitten
Art by Paul Rios
Like most people, I talk to my kitten as if she were a little kid and like most kids she doesn’t listen to a word I say. I swear it’s like I’m talking to myself. That all changed one fateful day…
I was depressed. Last week wasn’t the best of weeks for me. I don’t know why. It happens, but it’s never delightful. I’m not depressed, depressed. I just get in those moods where life just appears to be crashing down on me from all angles and the all-important question “what am I doing with my life?” weighs on my mind, body and soul. I’m 28, an injury is keeping me away from soccer, not challenged much at work, still not sure what I want to do with my life and looking to start a family with my soon to be wife–my angel, my world, my light. I understand these aren’t huge wordly issues, but they are my issues. I want to be able to care and provide for my love, give her everything that she deserves in life. I want everything I want in life as well. Not in a selfish way. In a way to live the happy fulfilled life we all deserve. The pressure I put on myself to achieve my goals, no one will ever know. How can anyone truly know what and how someone truly thinks?
I was home alone, wallowing in my own self imposed misery. Wishing that someone were around for me to talk to, but not wanting to lay my burden on someone else. Some things I just don’t like to let out verbally. The TV was on, a false sense of comfort, trying to mask my true thoughts. Nodding in and out of sleep, a soft voice beckoned me awake.
“Are you ok daddy?” this voice seemed to whisper in my conscience.
Daddy? I opened my eyes, scanning the room for the person belonging to this unknown yet familiar voice. No one was there. Just me and our little kitty, Zuzu Von Kitro. I closed my eyes, chalking it off to the TV. Just as I was drifting back to slumber, the soft voice pulled me awake once again.
“Daddy. I asked if you were ok. Are you?”
I slowly opened my eyes and sitting right in front of me on the couch was Zuzu.
“Hi daddy. Are you ok? You seem down. You haven’t tried to play with me at all today. You’ve just stayed on the couch pretending to watch TV.”
“I’m…I’m…Zuzu? You can speak?” I said in complete disbelief. Not knowing if I were deep in dream or what, I pinched myself. Yup, that hurt. Not quite sure where to go from there, I responded as if this were a common occurrence that happens all the time.
“I’m ok little one. Just a little sad.”
“I don’t like when you are sad. Is it because of the argument you and mommy had last night?”
“How do you know about that?”
“I see, hear and know everything that goes on around here. You don’t have to keep secrets from me daddy. I already know everything.”
“I suppose you do…” I started to trail off, pondering what the hell was going on. I was talking to my kitten, but for some strange reason I felt the urge to keep talking.
“My world crumbles when she gets it in her head that I don’t care about her feelings. Of course I care. I have no choice but to care. I love her. She doesn’t understand that I am constantly making decisions based on her. I wish she could see into my head. Ok, ok so I obviously don’t always do it in the most eloquent way, but the fact remains the same. I always truly deeply care about all aspect of her life and mine.”
Zuzu sat and listened contently. I continued to ramble on. As crazy as this whole situation was that I unexpectedly found myself in, it was someone to talk to.
“I know I come off harsh at times. I’m so very sorry for that. I don’t mean to complain. I’m not angry with her when I do it. I just need someone to decompress to. I’m not trying to bring her down. I’m just in need of someone to bring me up at times when I can’t quite find the means of doing it myself. She’s the only one that can shift through my bullshit and make me see the light. Isn’t part of our commitment to each other to listen and try to make the other happy, no matter what? Obviously it doesn’t happen all the time, but the point is to always try.”
Zuzu soaked in every word I said. After a minute of silence she spoke.
“Let me start of by saying, mommy loves you with all her heart. Remember I see and hear everything. She also listens to every word you say and don’t say…believe me. Just because she doesn’t always react in a way you want all the time does not mean she’s not listening. You do the same thing. That’s just how people are. She knows you care and you know she does as well. You both are extremely stubborn, so naturally you clash. Who doesn’t at times. Just remember, what might be nothing to you could be something to her. Always try and put yourself in the others shoes and listen. If you show you are listening to her, she will show she is listening to you and vice versa. Never forget that life is a constant battle of trial and errors. Learn from your mistakes and also from your achievements. Focus on the good and you will win the war called love.”
I stared at Zuzu, in amazement of how insightful she really was at such a young age.
“Zuzu, I didn’t realize how deep you are…”
“There are many things you don’t know daddy. Just keep searching and learning. You’ll find what you are looking for.”
Zuzu smiled, turned around, hoped off the couch and went over next to the fireplace to curl up in her favorite spot. Oddly at ease, I got up from the couch. A new sense of revival surging through my body. Somehow I knew that all would fall into place. We love each other. The rest will come.