Anne Leonard

The Orange Criminal

See the resemblance?

See the resemblance?

So, it’s November first and not too late to join the NaNoWriMo madness of writting a 55,000-word book in 30 days. After losing Fig in early June, I’ve been playing with the idea of writing a “meowmoir” dedicated to her short life. In some ways, losing her feels like a rite of passage. Fig was here to comfort me after Mike died. Now it’s time for me to move on to a new stage. All of that said, I should probably focus my attention on buffing up FLOM.

In the meantime, I’ve finally framed a lovely pastel of Jack (aka The Orange Criminal) done by Gemma, my tireless coworker in the UK. I’ve got an entire wall of my bedroom devoted to “cat art.” (Sad, but true. At least it’s not in one of the main rooms of the house.) But Jack has an honored spot in the dining room, above a small painting I bought on one of my last days in India. I was terribly homesick, and the tiger’s face — as I told the artist — reminded me of my cat back home. It was meant as a present for Mike, but he hadn’t experienced ten days in India so didn’t quite get it: “What do you mean he looks like Jack? It’s a tiger.”

The tiger painting was bought in Jaipur, where on my last night I lost my driver. From FLOM:

Just the evening before I’d found myself walking the streets of Jaipur alone after dark. On that occasion, I’d wanted to take some photos of the market, so my driver reluctantly dropped me off, pointing at a gate where he’d wait for me. I’d neglected to take into account it was sunset, so I was caught in the chaos of vendors shutting down for the evening, steady streams of worshipers making their way toward orange plastic elephants in sidewalk shrines, and families settling in for the night. I walked through the gate my driver had indicated, where a half dozen chauffeurs stood by their cars. There was just enough light to see that alas none were mine. Not knowing what else to do, I walked back out. Rugs were being spread on the ground, braziers lit, tethered cows fed. I was walking right through people’s living rooms and wouldn’t have been surprised to come across someone watching television. I made one more stab at the gate, before realizing there was an identical gate down another block or so. My driver was as relieved to see me as I was him, no doubt envisioning punishment for losing an American tourist.

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