Monday, November 07, 2005

In Defense of L, Part III

When I was in my 20s I worked for a big hospital/HMO in their mental health department. One day a co-worker went a little crazy and started telling everyone's secrets during a staff meeting. She shared something I had told her in confidence a year or two earlier. I fell apart. I left work and didn't go back for two days. I couldn't stop crying and had an IBS episode like no other before it. During this time, L called and I told her the whole story. She told me to come out to her place a little before lunch and we'd go for a picnic. One of her kids was still at home so the three of us took a lunch L packed (including egg salad sandwiches, the best comfort food sandwich EVER) and headed for a local park. We went for a long walk, with the little one in a stroller, and talked. Then we ate our lunch. It healed me.

A year or two later, I got a dog from the shelter. She was an excellent dog, if a little neurotic. One evening she got loose and wouldn't come back when I called her. Eventually she did come back, with a tiny dead kitten in her mouth. I screamed. The dog dropped the kitten. I started crying and couldn't stop. Leaving the baby cat outside, I dragged the dog (now completely freaking out because she evidently thought she'd done a good thing) into the house. I called L, sobbing uncontrollably. I didn't have a clue what to do. She told me I had to go around to the neighbors and try to figure out who owned the kitten. She told me to call animal control if I couldn't find the owner. She calmly walked me through all the steps I needed to take and promised to call back later to check on me. Somehow I managed to visit some of my neighbors (oh and did I mention I was new to the neighborhood? And sobbing uncontrollably? I wonder why the neighbors avoided me...). Eventually I found the kitten's owner, a pretty "eccentric" old guy who had dozens of feral cats and kittens all over his property. I called animal control and left a message. Then I called L and cried some more. She was soothing and maternal and didn't laugh at me even once. Tempting as that might have been.

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