by Yule Heibel on September 9, 2004

On the radio this evening, I heard the most amazing song from a 1998 album, Sahara Blue by Hector Zazou. Have to put this one on a prezzies list.


Posted that picture for the entry Pointing past the frame — I realised I could export the scanned picture from the HP PrecisionScan to iPhoto, from whence I could incorporate it in reduced scale into the pictures function of this blog. It’s a funny picture that illustrates the maxim that being photographed while you’re chewing with your mouth full is not a good idea. I like the way H., my third oldest sister, wears her sunglasses here, while my fourth oldest sister, younger, looks like a schoolgirl with her buttoned-up cardigan. But when they dressed up, they sparkled in all the downtown nightclubs. They tried to swish as much energy my way as they could, for which I am grateful. I was lucky (#7, right?) because I had several sisters who acted as surrogate mothers to me, and that was a good thing.


Yesterday I had occasion to discuss facial scars. Boring my children nearly to death (they’ve heard this), I told a third party how I got mine: my parents had a Burmese cat named Dalia, and when I was about 10 or perhaps 11, she had three kittens. When the kittens were not yet 2 days old, my father gathered up a stray cat he found outside; feeling sorry for it, he brought it into our apartment. Faced with this intruder, Dalia went berserk and tried to kill the stray. I vividly remember thinking that the chase seemed like a cartoon: the two cats were practically running vertically, along the walls. My father finally managed to snag the stray and take it to safety outside. He then caught up Dalia and put her in my bedroom — the kittens stayed in my parents’ bedroom since he feared that she would maul them. All the while, Dalia had kept up a frightful moaning wail, threatening and low. Foolishly — but who knew? — I went into my room, door closed, and tried to “talk” to Dalia. She was pacing, wild, didn’t want to calm down, and kept up her wild monkey wail. She was on the ground, I was standing. I looked down at her and said, “Oh shut up, why don’t you!” and suddenly, she wasn’t on the ground anymore. She had leapt at my head, her two front claws clinging to my temple and forehead (she missed my eyes), one hind claw cleaving my upper lip in two, the other gouging my neck. She just hung there as the blood dripped down on the white shirt I wore. I was afraid to remove her because of the pain she was causing. Finally, my father heard my screams, came into the room, and lifted the cat off my face, while I pushed past him to the bathroom mirror.

This cat had leapt into my skin, and about a year or so later, I awoke one morning unable to breathe — unable to exhale, actually. She was sitting on my chest, and I had bronchial asthma caused by a sudden onset of cat allergy. Years after I moved away, when Dalia finally died — we think she died: she just left one day — my mother showed the only real emotional outburst I can recall: she was openly in mourning and inconsolable. The Cat that leapt into my skin had made a most secure place in my mother’s heart: she had the claws for it, I suppose, and managed to find a way in. Years before The Cat’s death, I moved out, I moved all over the place, I took trains, planes, and hitchhiked across parts of Europe, I moved to Montreal, I moved to Munich, and never was there a great deal of concern on the part of my parents for how I was making my moves. Yet The Cat’s moves had to be secure: without asking my opinion, they sent her cross-country from Victoria to Montreal, for me to babysit (catsit?) while they travelled. I had bronchial asthma, a scar, and had moved 3000 miles away, but naturally I could be counted on to go to the airport, pick up the beastly live cargo, and tend to it for 3 weeks, wheezing and coughing all the time. The Cat was always safe, but she repaid her pampering by just walking out the door one day and not coming back to my mother, which drove her crazy. And oddly enough, one fine day I did the same thing.

Cruelty etched into the skin.


Yikes, this is turning into a weird memoir-blog. Oh well. Maybe I’m making it all up? Perhaps I got my scar snorting coke on jagged glass? Perhaps I don’t have a scar at all?

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