Pets don’t come with instruction manuals but owners don’t need one to decode their furry friends’ emotions. As I tiptoe down the stairs at 6 in the morning and I nestle on the sofa between my dogs, I know that Ottie’s tongue showering my face is a sign of affection and Portia’s head in my lap signifies comfort and trust.
Category: Life & Love
I am known to have a potty mouth that I am not particularly proud of and, sometimes, in social settings, I can utter the most inappropriate pronouncements – although, with age, I have tamed somewhat the relationship between my brain and my mouth. But, in a strange dichotomy, I can be a stickler for etiquette.
For the last 15 years, on and off, I have stuck to a habit that gives me immense pleasure. In a pedagogic effort not to be pedantic and, at the same time, introduce poetry in the lives of my step-children, I took to tacking a poem to the fridge every week or so. This habit went to join the long list of “weird things our step-mother does” but, children long gone, it makes me happy to this day.
It’s been a bizarre week. On Wednesday, I sat in a hushed room listening to an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor talk about her experience for 90 minutes straight: her move into the Lvov ghetto when she was five; hiding in a basement for two weeks; her father securing fake Aryan papers for her and her mother; the flight to the countryside, then to Sweden once the Soviets invaded; her eventual passage to the United States and all the harrowing details in between.
I am not a great writer. Not a particularly good one either but I do have a firm belief – even utter reverence – for words. Whenever I come across a beautiful sentence, a string of words arranged in an unusual or striking manner, I can bask in it at length, reading and re-reading it, going back to it, letting it swirl in my head. Sometimes I can be more attached to individual sentences than to a whole body of work.
Even in my fog-addled brain, after a sleepless night on the plane, I sensed immediately that the odd group of people boarding the transit bus next to me were no ordinary travellers. First of all, they were shepherded by a minute, Asian woman who made sure they got on the bus for Terminal 5 at Heathrow. At the other end, a young man, holding a clipboard, tried to corral them all in the same direction.