Chains

You don’t know me,
And you don’t even care.
Oh, yeah…
You don’t know me,
And you don’t wear my chains….

“Boston”
—Augustana

Yesterday I removed the chain bolt my ex had put on his office door so the cat wouldn’t come in and bother him.  This always hurt the kitty’s feelings; he loved my ex and just wanted to be in the same room.  Even when he was dying, he was still locked out of the room by that stupid bolt.  He would bump the door with his head and cry, and even when I tried to comfort him, it wasn’t what he wanted.  It wasn’t enough.

After May 16, sometimes when I went into the study, I brushed against the chain and remembered how it sounded to hear my poor kitty try to defeat that thing, to no avail.  So I finally took it off.  Wrapping it around my wrist, I saw it made a good fit, so I took some pliers and wrenched off the latch, found an old key ring that I used in college, and to that I attached two charms: a pewter heart pendant and something my father bought for my cat, a heart-shaped tag with his name and our phone number on it in case he ever got lost.  Though he’s lost forever to me, I hope he and my dad are having a grand time beyond this lonely plane.

Since I put the chain on my wrist yesterday, I haven’t taken it off.  It’s a reminder of several things.  Don’t lock out people who love you unconditionally.  Be grateful for gifts given with love.  And, most of all, don’t put chains on anyone.  I’ve been in chains for almost 30 years.  My homemade bracelet will remind me for the rest of my life of my mistakes–God knows I’ve made plenty–and every time I look at those two hearts, I’ll think about what matters, rather than the petty complaints I’ve made that I regret, and always will.

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