Expatria · Istanbul



Duckie tipped over the garbage and then sat in it.
Duckie tipped over the garbage and then sat in it.

Duckie, the long absent daughter of Saucy, has returned to live on our porch. She just rolled up on the porch about 10 days ago like nothing had happened. Like her mother hadn’t been depressed as anything, not eating and crying herself to sleep on the porch’s cat chair. Like I hadn’t been poking my head out there every day wondering where she was and feeling so upset that maybe she was dead.

At first, I was just so relieved to see her. To know that she hadn’t passed away like her sister. But then she was more or less immediately back to her pain in the ass antics. Coming into the house, messing around. I couldn’t leave a single door open unless I was in the room otherwise she was coming in, jumping about, leaving fur everywhere.

I resorted to violence, I’m sad to say. When she tried to come into the living room, I threw an empty DVD cover at her which served its purpose of flying totally off the mark but scared her enough to not try it again. Today I threw an empty plastic yogurt container at her when she tried to sneak into the kitchen door, and that seems to have taught her that she does not come into the house. Now, she stares at me from just beyond the ledge waiting and watching.

Her return made me think of returning in general. How nonchalantly we revisit places that used to be home and try to work our way back into it. We do it with relationships, cities, family, work. Most of the time, returns are fatal. The world we used to know has moved on and our return is a sharp reminder of how far we’ve moved on ourselves. Maybe this is why some people never leave a place, or a person, because they are scared of what will have changed when they come back. Or why others continue to keep moving, never going back, because they are also scared of what will or won’t be there on their return.

I think family is the only place where we can return to after any number of years and still feel we belong there. This is how I know that Duckie has become an odd part of my spiritual family. Because even though she won’t let me pet her, is generally very nasty to me, saying rude things and trying to hit me all the time, she has taken up her old role as the little shithead on our porch. And isn’t that just so family, too? There’s always got to be someone who’s an ass, plain and simple.

While her return has been a serious pain, I am still more happy to know that she is alive and well. Even when she irritates me, there is still a part of me that remembers how sad I was all those weeks she was missing. And I guess that’s just how it is with family, and how we readjust to surprising returns.