Three Weeks in October (I)
My friends were going to Japan for three weeks. They asked me to look after their house and their cat, Ray. I had been feeling tired and stressed out, needing to take a break without having to get too far from my life. I agreed. I figured since I really love cats and miss my cat, Asghar, whom I had left behind when I moved from Tehran three years ago, I would have a good chance to bond with a furry feline and re-energize.
I have known Kerry for more than twenty years and was fortunate enough to attend Kerry and Mark’s wedding many years ago. Kerry, is the epitome of an organized individual. Her beautiful house perfectly clean and tidy, her house cat, Ray, a dream of a cat, and her binder full of typed instructions on EVERYTHING about her house and her cat, were welcoming and encouraging signs that I was about to arrive at my oasis of sanity and peace for three weeks. I went to get introduced and oriented to the cat and Kerry and Mark’s house three times prior to their departure. I learned the elaborate lighting, sound, and alarm systems of their gorgeous house near Berkeley. Ray seemed shy but he did warm up to me some during my visits. Kerry even took me and introduced me to a few of her neighbors who had all been informed about a woman who would be living at her house for a few weeks. I told Kerry I had prior plans to have dear guests on the first Sunday they were gone and whether it was alright with her if I entertained my friends at her house. The sweet woman was happy at the prospect of a party at her house, even if she wasn’t in it! I had invited my friends to our usual monthly get-together which I regularly host, except this time a dear friend of mine, Jahanshah, who was planning to leave the area was our low-key “guest of honor.” I call it low-key because he had made it clear he didn’t want a farewell party. I knew and everybody else knew that this would be the last time we would get together like this for a while. Kerry and Mark left on a Thursday and I moved in and became house-mate with Ray, the cat. Everything went very well, including our bedtimes, when Ray would sleep at the bottom of my bed, just like Kerry had said he would. Things were going on really well with the two of us. I returned to my house on that first Saturday night, cooked up a storm, and the next day, on Sunday, I took all the food and a lot of other things with me to my friends’ house where I expected my friends. A couple of days before the party, I had received emails and phone calls from a couple of my friends whom I hadn’t invited to the party. They said they had heard about the party and wanted to come, too. This is not unusual among my friends. I have many many friends and it is not possible to invite all of them to my house at the same time, so I take turns on whom to invite. All through my life, though, it has happened that I would get calls from people just before a party, inviting themselves over. It gives me great joy to accept and welcome my friends when they really want to come. (To Be Continued...)