When you were alive, you had a flare for languages. So I hope you now know all of them and can read this. In the language of my heart.
The thing is, I miss you. I am not good at talking about this, just like you were, so we are the same here, bear with me.
It is quite the winter here. There is actual snow and the temperatures are below 10C. People make little pathways to the sheds in the yard, and children go running in the snowdrifts. A few days ago I watched some of the teens from the neighboring house get some spades and dig along the sheds and then harvest the icicles from the roof to build a strange shiny installation, brittle and dazzling. My cats enjoyed the view too.
Today there came this fine, powdery snow that obscures all form. It felt like fine flour, really. And the sound was amazing too – like small birds piping. Somehow it made me think of you.
I would give a world to just lie at the foot of your bed and be quiet. We never talked much anyway. The snow brought back the Siberia stories you did not tell. The stories that seeped from you reluctantly. About the winter and the people in the village so poor they planted potato peels for harvest. Of the cats not loved until the deported Latvians came about and changed that. Or your father – I often wonder why not your mother – working hard to keep up the family. He was a master carpenter. I often wish I could have learned more before he died. I do a little wood-carving for fun these days, you know. You had stories of the fish in the river and the way the children called you a nazi at the school. Of your brother Augusts. And strangely, not much of your sister Ilga. Maybe that is the fate of all elder sisters, to be the bloody pestering know-it-alls to their junior siblings. Maybe this is why you always expressed your preference for all those small and youngest. I understand, I think I do, they needed more protection from the elements and stuff that life is made of than the likes of me. At the time though… it did not seem very fair. But that’s bygones now.
I might have mentioned my three cats before. Only one of them is called da Kat, him da boss. The other two have a name together: the Depiks, from some books I read about feline warriors. The Depiks are Ni the Nanocat and my dream-cat Occ. You have never seen my cats, none of them, but I think you probably would have liked them. Some people say my cats are pampered beyond imagination, and some people like them a lot… But I remember our house cats and their trust in you, and Basil the very ginger cat I brought from Riga way back in 1993, and I think you would not think they are impolite and uneducated. You would find much pleasure in their antics.
I also have a couple of chinchillas. This summer I had a glimpse of a chinchilla farm, and it was rather shocking. I suddenly became aware, painfully, of the evil that is animal farming for furs. The waste of lives just because someone wants an expensive coat. Aaargh.
I still have the winter jacket you gave me. Some of the fabric is worn out, especially at the back, but I repaired it, and I wear it when I totally miss you. Like now.
You see, I cannot even cry because I miss you. I am that much inside myself. So, I’ll find a candle to light and burn the incense sticks you liked and quietly hope my story is not unknown to you.
You probably noticed I do not talk to my brother. We have nothing to say to each other, this is how it is, this bad. Of course, part of it is the bloody Covid and restrictions and whatnot, but it is more than that. Since you died, our family died. That’s that.
The smell of snowy air is dizzying. My home is rather cold though, even for me. I remember you disliking the cold and always wanting the place be warmer than I liked. Maybe I slowly get your meaning 🙂
I have come back to discussing the weather again, and I haven’t even started on flowers and things that grow, I’ll leave it for another letter. Because, if I write it, and post it, it will reach you, right?
How are the gardens of Heaven? Are there pets? What is your favourite tune from the choirs of angels?
I miss you,