Postscript: ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being Corporeal’, by Elmo Keep


This piece is a postscript to ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being Corporeal’, Elmo Keep’s story about a cat called Miro.

In the end I did go back to see you for a handful of days in the last week of a Melbourne winter. You were frail and fragile and quiet and slow. But still you recognised me. We spent those days and nights on the couch at Nick and Bridget’s house where I let you eat whatever I was eating; pizza and roast pork and doner kebabs. You purred, chomping with elicit delight. I wrapped you in the covers where you lay on my chest and curled your head in under my chin where you could feel my heart beat in my neck through the night. I was so happy to see you but soon I had to leave. The cab came to get me and I wanted to never let you go. I love you, I said, closing the door as you looked at me like I would be right back. I would never see you again.

I cried the whole way to the airport in the pre-dawn dark. I cried on the plane from Melbourne to Sydney, from Sydney to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to New York. I cried in the taxi from JFK to the house in Brooklyn. I cried carrying my bags up the stairs. I cried in my bed until I finally passed out into sleep. In the morning I woke up thinking I was still where you were and I cried again. I’d sat through the three safety demonstrations waiting for the planes to take off, thinking each time for a moment that if this was the day for my plane to go down—a promised to be unlikely event—I wouldn’t mind. I wouldn’t be afraid. It might even be a pleasant relief. I was so tired.

Crossing the bridge to Greenpoint with the city passing across the river the last sunset of the summer burned red. The sun was enormous so close to the buildings. It was almost the colour of blood and it appeared to linger, suspended on the horizon as if it would never dip below the Earth and into night. It shimmered so bright and so deep and so fantastic when I looked directly at it that I wondered just for a second if perhaps it was actually you.

Elmo Keep is an Australian writer in Brooklyn.