We didn’t expect 2020.

We can’t predict 2021, or tomorrow.

But verily I tell you: that’s OK.

When this year was born, with its promise of perfect vision and new hope, we couldn’t have expected all that would unfold. As 2019 took its curtain call, I did not expect to soon find myself reading articles on “how to keep your mask from fogging up your glasses,” or worrying about the future of the postal service.

But lest we be too hard on 2020, how much do we ever really expect…well, much of anything? Are we not generally gobsmacked by life, walking around baffled and a bit starry-eyed? It’s not because we’re stupid; it’s just because we are neither God nor feline.

Perhaps this is a perspective that snowballs over time. Think about age, whatever age you may be. Personally, I did not expect to very quickly move from age “I will unironically wear a tutu to work” to age “I’m legitimately excited about probiotic cottage cheese, and hey, I wonder where Pioneer Woman buys her shirts?”

But while we’re all full-time astonished by all we couldn’t predict, the cats are calm. Unlike our anxious kind, they expect nothing, except that they expect everything. Their predictions are short on detail, long on feeling. They fully expect life to honor and regale them like beloved conquering heroes…and, however the incidents and accidents may play out, they interpret it all precisely that way.

Rosita is a study in all of the above.

Bat-eared and beatific, hers is a face you would expect to introduce pure, unadulterated goodness. And you would be right, because she is a cat, and they are, of course, void of any “badness.” But the dainty, well-behaved goodness you might expect will quickly elude and confound you.

Rosita is physical innocence wrapped around uncontrollable soul fire.

Our expectations for Rosita — gentle temperament, near-immediate adoption due to That Face — have been shelved, right between our expectations of vacations, graduations, and our own stable sameness across time and space. In their place, right in the middle of the strangest of years, is the grand, peculiar reality.

Rosita is a wildwoman.

Rosita will launch her entire adorable person at you, your friends and family, and the unfortunate wand toy that crosses her path.

Rosita is so much more than our piddly expectations bargained for.

And fortunately, so are you and I.

Maybe it’s inevitable that we’ll always expect things to be the same. There’s a temperamental, temporary “safety” in imagining that our likes and our skin tautness and the contours of our days will be basically the same from day to month to year.

But it’s far more delicious, daring and fully-alive to expect — or at least accept — that it will all explode, over and over again.

The year you expected isn’t quite happening.
The “you” you were sure was finally set in concrete just…keeps…changing.
The cats we thought we understood keep on evolving.

And life keeps on keeping us on our toes, starry-eyed and confused and somehow covered in grace.

So I’m going to roll forward with Rosita and let time, trust and fire take me where they will. I believe to my marrow that we are all — feline and otherwise — being guided, molded, given what we need just when we need it, but not a moment before. Time is changing around us. We are changing.

But isn’t it hopeful?

Who knows? Maybe, this time next year, we’ll have dreams and desires that weren’t even embryos today. You may take up the hammered dulcimer; I may develop a passion for Argentinian cuisine.

We will not be the same.

We will not be what we, or anyone else, expected.

Let’s have some fun with this, wild kittens. Rosita surely will.

1 thought on “Unexpected

  1. Oh Angela – you touch on some things that are unexpected reality! Skin tautness. Glasses fogging. How did these things ever become an issue in our daily lives? 2020 is so much stranger than we could ever have imagined. Thank goodness it has not affected cats.

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