Snippet Two: Two Months

He’d been sick for a few weeks, but finally her cat no longer seemed bothered by the illness that had been plaguing him. He watched her now through half-opened eyes, and she ran a hand lovingly over his fur.
After a few moments of soothing, she gently lifted and held him in her arms, still mindful of his recent frailty. She lost track of time as she cuddled him close, memorizing the smooth, soft feel of his fur against her fingers and feeling love in her heart. Eventually she tenderly nestled him into his box, covered him with a soft, brown blanket, and left him to rest peacefully.
The next day it rained. She stood outside and watched as the water washed away muddy clumps from the fresh mound of soft, brown dirt under the window, and the rain was her grief all around her, an inescapable storm.

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(Just a note, November 8 marked two months since I lost the love of my life, my precious cat of 16 years, Boo. It was truthfully a rough day for me, especially since someone I know lost their cat of many years that same day. All of the grief and anger and heartbreak of losing my boy came back to me, and then I was doubly upset because someone else I knew was going through what had happened to me. As I was curled up crying late that night, I ended up writing this, and somehow it helped.)

Snippet One: Fingerprints

When I graduated college, my friend bought me, among other things, a fancy pen in celebration of my English degree.
The pen is silver and very shiny, though not so shiny as it was before I first used it. Now it is slightly grubby with my fingerprints. I wonder what is says about me that I see my own fingerprints upon my own pen as grubby, instead of a normal mark of ownership.
The middle section of the pen is inscribed with fleurs-de-lis, a motif I have always admired. Perhaps I am drawn to it instinctively—my mother, a dedicated genealogist, tells me I have the blood of monarchs within my veins. Or maybe I am the reincarnation of some peasant’s soul, and am even now awed by a traditional symbol of royalty and my current right to profane it with my touch. Perhaps this is why my fingerprints seem grubby to me.
Either way I wonder how my friend happened to pick it out for me. Did she simply know me so well that she could look at it and identify that I would like it? Or have I mentioned at some point in the misty, murky past of the many years of our friendship that I love fleur-de-lis? They both seem equally likely.
The pen is elaborate, though still a practical ball-point. It is also wider and heavier than a normal pen, and holding it in my hand feels different; weightier. Almost as if it is heavy with all the ponderous, significant things I should write with it. And yet, so far all I have done is describe a pen.
I think the box it came in is worthwhile to mention—it is covered in phrases from great literary classics. Some I recognize instantly from books I love and books I hate; others, I can easily infer the source; still others, I am unsure.
It occurs to me that the box might have been designed with the intent of inspiring whoever would use its precious cargo. At least, I want to believe this, and I smile as I picture some passionate bibliophile like myself painstakingly sifting through literature and agonizing over which beloved words will make the final cut.
When you open it, the pen is nestled in some sort of springy foam, cut so there is a resting place for the pen. Truthfully, wedged is more an appropriate word than nestled. It is a bit of a challenge to get the pen out, and I like that. It’s as if you must truly be committed to using the pen, and again I smile as I picture some erstwhile Pen Box Designer with an earnest adoration of the written word.
I pause, and wipe the fingerprints from my pen again with one hand, even as I hold it clutched in the other. It is patently silly, and almost plebeian in its irony. I ponder that my provincial musings might not be far off. I begin writing again, feeling my fingertips leaving smearing fingerprints.
Briefly, the ink sputters, and I wonder if the Ink Filler was not as dedicated to writing as his fellow hypothetical collaborators, even as I panic. If my pen goes out, I will have to take the time to find a new one, and who knows what thoughts might dissipate forever while I do? What if while I am searching for a replacement pen, the thought that would become my masterpiece slips in one ear and out the other?
It hits me:

So much depends
upon

a silver ink
pen

emblazoned with black
fleurs-de-lis

above a white
notebook.

There is nothing from William Carlos Williams on my pen’s box, and I find myself regretting that. Perhaps that fabled Pen Box Designer also had a peasant’s soul, and he felt he had no right to ruin the poem’s format by putting it on a box lid. Still, I would have done it. I do not think William Carlos Williams would have minded.
Perhaps I am a royal, after all.