Pippin and the Ice Storm (A Tale of Two Perspectives)

Here is a revision of the introduction to my tale-in-progress. I’m hoping to maintain a kind of sing-songy, repetitive Stein-like quality throughout this (short story? novella?):

Pippin is home this winter night for the first time in twelve days. Like the Twelfth Night of Christmas, this occasion should be a cause for celebration. But Pippin is a cat and her human mother takes this into consideration. Instead of engaging in human merrymaking, mommy celebrates by sleeping snug with Pippin.

When the night moves from pitch black to mixed contours of dark and light, Pippin plays with Mommy’s hair. She licks the long strands like they were some cat treat. Mommy enjoys this intimacy but because of her exhaustion, she nudges Pippin’s paws away.

Now it is daylight and Mommy awakes to Pippin’s head on her cheek. Pippin sleeps with a grin as her fluffy body rises and falls rhythmically with Mommy’s breathing.

“My baby,” Mommy whispers with tears in her eyes.

Cats have nine lives. We say this because cats have a way of bouncing back time and time again. Case in point – Pippin returned after having been lost in an incredibly icy winter storm. Mommy can’t believe she has returned. She hopes to experience a good portion of the rest of her life with Pippin as Pippin lives out her remaining eight lives. Mommy still hopes even though when most other times she hoped for something, the hope returned without coming to fruition.

Pippin does not hope. She sleeps on Mommy’s cheek, and when she wakes she yawns and stretches and follows Mommy to the kitchen.

*Note on Cat Time:

Cats experience time in a way that only the most alert human beings do, that is, nonlinearly. So because this is (for the most part) a cat’s tale, events will appear to move in and out of linear chronology, or out of it entirely. Parts of this tale will appear to begin at the end of a particular event or experience, some at the beginning. Others will appear to happen some time after or some time before something else. As Pippin’s tale is narrated, an event may take the space of night to morning or morning to night without a clear indication of whether the space of night comes after the morning or before, or exactly which of the twelve days is being narrated. This tale seeks to render events with an emphasis on space rather than time. Why then specify twelve dayslost or any spans of time at all? Because as a human reader your life experience for the most part involves calculable spans of time. And so here we have a cat’s tale in the interest of cats, but set to the tune of human beings.

In the end, there are no real beginnings or endings. As Roquentin says in Nausea, when the adventure is over and time resumes its daily routine, the end makes one with the beginning. Yet, we must start this tale somewhere, and so we begin.

*Note on for Whom this Tale is Written:

You don’t have to be interested in animal stories to be interested in this story. Just don’t expect a ‘happy ending,’ for this is not a children’s tale of happy endings or of endings at all, even though you know from the start that Pippin’s tale ends up somewhere on the happiness spectrum. Keep reading.

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