Near 500 words: TW and the Egyptian Cats

Episode 18 of The Writer.

It isn’t enough to say that TW (aka The Writer) was crying as he headed his car home. In the passenger seat was Cat, lying in a box. He was weeping.

Overcome by grief, he pulled his car over to the side of the road and cut off the engine. Sitting there, looking down into the darkness at the box, he could still feel Cat’s presence. “What am I going to do?” he asked the dead cat.

He heard Cat whisper back, “It’s okay. You’ll do fine. I may be gone but I will still be with your.”

A flashlight shone into his face. “Sir?”

TW looked up at the police officer.

“Are you okay?

TW shook his head. “Yes, I’m okay.”

“Are you sure?” The policeman’s voice was soft with caring.

TW managed to hold back his crying but his voice broke. “I just lost my cat.”

“I see.” Then the flashlight went off, and the cop was gone.

TW started the engine and pulled out onto the road. He drove slowly to make sure he didn’t have an accident.

When he pulled up into his driveway, it seemed like days since he had gotten into his car to take Cat to the vet. He eased himself out of the car. He went to the shed beside the house and took out a shovel.Then he went inside for a flashlight.

Standing on the back porch, he studied the yard and found the perfect place. One of Cat’s favorite spots in the yard. It was beside the azalea bush.

In the dark, he began digging. He pushed the shovel into the ground. The dirt gave way easily. Then again he did the same motion until he had a hole several feet deep. The sweat poured down his face.

He returned to the car and gently lifted Cat out. The weight was lighter than he remembered. He took the box into the living room. He sat Cat onto his coffee table.

For the next half hour, he showered, then put on a suit and tie. He couldn’t imagine giving Cat a sendoff without being properly dressed. It was only right. Cat deserved the respect. Then it came to him that this was why the Egyptians took so much care burying their cats. They weren’t just pets. They were friends, companions, soul mates.

Yes, Cat must have been his soul mate. That’s how close they were.

He finished the knot in his tie, buttoned his suit jacket, and checked his shoes to see if they were properly shined.

In the living room, he looked down on Cat. She looked peaceful on her tummy, her head resting on her paws. He took a Bible off his bookshelf and he opened it up to the Twenty-third Psalm and he read it to Cat. It was more for him than Cat, and it helped.

He laid the Bible down on the coffee table and picked Cat’s box up.

Standing beside the grave, he lowered the box into the ground. Under a full moon, he had one final look at his companion and heard himself say, “Soon.”

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Hamlet: Ophelia’s Finale

Gertrude: Sweets to the sweet. Farewell! (scatters flowers)
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife.
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave. Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 5 Scene 1 (continued). Everything has conspired against Ophelia. She can’t even get a decent burial. The priest won’t bury her in consecrated soil. She was a suicide, or so everyone believes.

She is so like Shylock. At the end of it all, she is a woman without family or country or love or even religion.

She is ultimately the tragic hero of Hamlet. Hamlet has choices. She does not.

Gertrude has choices. Ophelia does not.

Everybody gets to choose. Not Ophelia.

This is why Ophelia is so hard to play.

Think about this. Ophelia’s mother is dead or maybe she went insane. Now Ophelia is at the mercy of her father and her brother. Polonius and Laertes are a lot to handle.

Again and again Shakespeare reveals the terrible plight of women. Ophelia and Juliet are at the mercy of the pleasure of their fathers. They command their daughters to marry Paris or leave Hamlet out standing in the rain. Hero is falsely accused of indiscretion in Much Ado About Nothing. Only Benedict, a man, proves her innocence. Kate in Taming of the Shrew has to marry Petruchio and then is at the mercy of his abuse. Hermia in Midsummer must marry a man she does not love. Thanks to her father. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, too must have been commanded by her father to marry Hamlet Senior. Then there is Ophelia. Poor Ophelia. It seems daughters just can’t win.

Laertes and Hamlet throw themselves onto the Ophelia’s wooden coffin, proclaiming their love for her.

“My poor dead sister,” Laertes cries out.

“I loved her,” Hamlet cries out.

“You scoundrel,” Laertes protests, grabbing Hamlet by the throat. “You killed her. You are responsible. You did not love her at all.”

“Did too.”

“Did not.”

The two are pulled apart.

They have given Ophelia what she wanted. Love. But it’s kinda late, fellows.