The moments we wish away or try to hurl out of the way.
The moments when we’re Bart, and the moments when we’re Glenn.
It took Glenn little more than a moment to make himself at home in the Development Office at Tabby’s Place.
He came; he schnozzled; he opened his troubled trachea and trilled. He declared his dignity, unashamed of his grunts and snorts and shortfalls re: the litterbox. He would be the troubadour who told the truth about his troubles without letting them take the mandolin from his paws.
He would be a very, very, very good friend.
But Glenn’s long, shining moment came to a screechy stop the moment he met the blind, deaf, dear cat.
Maybe Bartholomew looked a little too much like Glenn for Glenn’s liking. Maybe Bart’s art was not Glenn’s aesthetic, his ponderous unseeing eyes a little unsettling. Maybe Glenn had just gotten used to the idea — in his first three or so hours Chez Development — that being Cat The Only was cool beans.
Whatever the reason, Glenn was not grateful when Bart burst his moment. And burst he did, bumbling forth with a Best Bros Forever bracelet dangling from his extended paw, whispering “I made this for us!” (which, in Bartwegian, translates to “belly flop onto friend into pile of kinship”).
Glenn was aghast. Glenn gnashed his teeth. Glenn gave full voice to sounds from the underworld.
Bart was momentarily deterred. Then Bart bumbled back. “Friend now?”
Glenn’s response: “FRIEND NO.”
I cannot in good conscience translate into Glennish the exact words from Glennself. But suffice to say, every middle-school boy who ever discovered foul language just blushed ten thousand shades of marmalade.
Bart was momentarily deterred.
But Bart had lived a few more moments than Glenn, and Bart knew that moments are moments that give way to other moments, if only you don’t give up.
Glenn gave Bart every reason to back off.
Bart gave grace.
Bart gave mercy.
Bart gave it a few moments, shaped like days.
Bart gave Glenn his signed platinum record of Time, Love, and Tenderness. (This was a mistake. Glenn is more Metallica than Michael Bolton. Bart would not make this mistake twice.)
Bart gave himself pep talks: “You’re a good Bart. You’re a good bard. You’re a Barty Bart. You’ll get invited to the party, Bart.”
Bart did not get mired in the moments that looked like meanness.
Bart remembered what we forget: every moment matters, and any moment can turn into the morning on a new day.
And one day, Glenn said, “okay.” Next thing we knew, there were two dollops of marmalade on our toast. Side by side they snoozed, in silence and snorkeling, discussing ways to save the world, or at least save the world from plant-based cheese.
All because Bart always knew about moments.
Bart knew that Glenn’s underworld sounds would soon be a funny memory, maybe not today or tonight or this side of the veil, but someday. In two hours or six years or one aeon, it would be a story he would tell, a story that could tell other cats the story of the Great Mercy that finally wins.
I need Bart’s knowledge, because I have no memory for this stuff. I think the moment is a monolith, sometimes a monument to my awfulness. When the writing is going badly, and all I can do is hurl words around like meteors, the moment-monster tells me I will never be creative again.
When the loving is going badly, and my dear ones and I throw each other’s hearts against the wall like hard-boiled eggs, the mealy-mouthed moment mumbles that I will feel this guilty and grody and lonely and lousy forever. When the traffic is thick or the plotline is thin, I forget that I’ll laugh again, laugh about this moment, even, with the very same hard-nosed hard-boiled eggs who made my brain-bacon sizzle this morning.
But the blind, deaf cat does not forget.
The blind, deaf cat remembers that, sooner or later — and it’s okay if it’s later, because we are brave and patient and much more than the moments mutter about us — this moment will be a story that we tell.
The blind, deaf cat remembers that all the moments are leading us out to where we’ll all love under the same smiling meteor shower, and tell all our stories. Together.
The blind, deaf cat remembers that these moments are our lives, and we will remember them, and each other, and even ourselves, with more mercy than we can muster at this minute.
The blind, deaf cat remembers in advance.
And he would really like to remind us all of the moments that matter.
The moments that braid themselves together like daisies while we’re not looking.
The moments that are waiting for us to welcome them like imperfect friends. (That’s the best kind, and also the only kind that exists.)
The moments that will make us more and more the miracles we’re meant to be.
So let’s love the minutia and the mundane today. The murky and the maddening. The meteors and the meatballs and the many-headed hydras that just might hug rather than hurt us.
We can’t command the moments, but we can make the most of them, yelling “WHEEEEE!” all the way down the slide to tonight.
And then tomorrow…we get a fresh multi-pack of moments.
I say we grace ’em up good.
PS: Journalistic integrity demands that I clarify that Glenn and Bart are not besties. Their moment of mellow was momentary, and Glenn is back to glares and growls. Such are the moments, and they pass. But don’t worry about Bart. Bart doesn’t worry about anything, least of all Bartself. And merciful moments continue to fall off the vine into Bart’s berry bushel. Behold Bart’s Big Adventure, a hallway ramble supervised by our gentle staff. Not even Pee-Wee himself knew such delights. So make the most of every moment today, kittens.