Innocence is underrated.
There’s something to be said for the 12 33-year-old who thinks the song “Shoop” is simply about dancing.
There’s something to be said for the eminent emeritus English professor whose favorite films feature dogs dressed as people.
And there’s a Saturn-sized something to be said for the cat who thinks that all of life is all asplendor, all the time.
Ours is a cynical age. We prefer our newscasters grizzled, our senators suspicious, our shampoos twice-reviewed, our guarantees money-back. “Fool me once,” we say, “shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
But perhaps our greatest shame is feeling so shamed by foolishness.
Cats are constitutionally incapable of cynicism. Try to get your tabby to question your motives, and she’ll only love you more.
It simply doesn’t become cats to flatten their hope. Not that life doesn’t try to convince them. Reality will sit on, steamroll and bounce its angry feet upon a cat’s sense of wonder, only for that wonder to sproing back up like a beach ball.
Dimmer creatures that we are, we don’t quite get this. We are afraid to hope, afraid to be too innocent. Something clobbered us into believing that innocence would always get us into trouble.
Alex’s story flows as the story often goes: found outside, too friendly to be a “true feral,” presumably ditched, providentially discovered. If you or I had been loved and loosed, reeled into safety only to have our anchor cut, without so much as a bon voyage as we floated lonely out to sea, we would not be creatures of joy. If we should survive such a shipwreck, surely we’d sail back into life with cannons on board, eyes narrowed and heart armored. Fool me twice…
Not so Alex.
Walk into Suite B, and you will not bump against a warship battered by loss. No poison shot of venom awaits you here. No sooner do your feet cross the threshold than you are whisked into a whirlpool of excitement, swirling in the widest eyes you’ve ever seen.
No animatronic dolphin ever swam such joyful circles as the boy who spins stripes around your heels. Don’t be surprised if Alex bumps into a wall or a cat as he orbits you. That’s a price he’s willing to pay for keeping his eyes fixed on yours.
Be my north star, those eyes request. Be my anchor. Be my great lasting love. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine is true is YOU.
It’s insta-trust. It’s invincible innocence.
It could easily get you into trouble.
But if this be trouble, open up your sails and blow right in. Love and fear can’t occupy the same wide eyes, and Alex has made the better choice. He may have his heart broken again. He may float lonely on the sea in dark circles.
But cynical never wins.
Maybe there’s a giant iridescent squid to be seen down there. Maybe there’s adventure beyond his wildest dreams. Surely, certainly, there’s joy on the other side of every jolt.
May we drink deep of Alex’s innocence. It goes down easy, and it tells the deeper story that ultimately, invincibly, always comes true.