vendredi 29 octobre 2010

Dark angel

Maman's dark angel

Doug's right. She does look sweet, but she does also look like she's saying, "Maman, why are you doing this to me?" I don't think she gets her first Halloween any more than Sam did his at 3 weeks old. The difference was that Sam finally got it, while Fia isn't likely to. Besides, she can't have the chocolate. She'll have to give it to us.

I made all his costumes, from the first one, which was a tiger spotted pajama and a mask in gold paper I made before leaving the office that day -- cutting the eye holes precisely the right width apart the first time so that his little eyes gazed out at the world through them, that's how strong an imprint a baby's face makes on his mother's mind --, to the last, which I cannot remember. How can that be? There was the little devil when he was one, Max from Where the Wild Things Are when he was three, the velvet spider when he was four, his first Tuxedo and a gorgeous black wool cape with red satin lining I made him for his Dracula costume his kindergarten year, when he was five.

There was the failed next Halloween, when he dressed up as Darth Vader and refused to trick or treat. We stood with his grandfather in the street in Old Greenwich, while the children flowed past us in the clear October night, light streaming from the Jack O'Lanterns and doors where the grown-ups who stayed at home handed out candy. I thought it was because we had moved that summer from our old neighborhood near where we were trick or treating to our new apartment in the center of Greenwich. Perhaps Sam felt like a six-year-old interloper, but he swore years later that it really was because the Darth Vader mask he had wanted so much blinded and smothered him, even after we punched the film out of the eye-holes. That had ruined his Halloween.

It was because I hadn't made the costume. That's what it was.

Then, there was James Bond. He wanted to wear a tuxedo again.

But there were two other Halloweens, as well as the one when he was two. How can I forget? I remember what Kyle wore that last Halloween in Greenwich to the International School at Dundee Halloween party. He dressed as an old man. I found him sitting at the side of the gym, while the others all played the games the parents had set up.

"Kyle," I said, surprised to see him sitting there alone, his large plaid shirt covered tummy hanging over the belt buckle at his trouser tops, "what are you doing sitting there?" He grinned at me.

"I'm resting."

Ah, I smiled back, "Old men get tired easily." He nodded, a very slight smile where his lips met the corner of his powdered skin. No wonder he's at SCAD, studying film directing. We all knew that was coming when he was Robin Hood at Sam's 5th birthday party and took his bow and arrows so seriously, redistributing the party favors more equitably. No one dared refuse.

I joke. About the party favor redistribution. Everyone was rich except Sam and I, and it was his birthday so he did pretty well. About Kyle, we really did all know what his future would hold.

Still, I cannot remember those last two Halloweens. I must not have made those costumes, but I have no excuse for the second one, when he was two, other than so many years having passed. Fia will be the first pet to have a Halloween costume. I was too nervous with Baccarat, and God only knows you don't dress up a car.

It was hard being a first-time puppy owner, and it was all I could do to survive the recall command training. Baccarat did as she pleased more often than I like to admit, until the last year of her far too brief life, by which time she had decided to take a charitable attitude with me. I am pretty sure she regretted having been such a challenge once she saw how destroyed I was by her being so sick and having to leave us. Or not. It is not a dog's way to regret anything.

This time, however, I am doing exactly what I knew I could once Baccarat had to leave us; I decided to let Baccarat help me and relax and just have fun this time, and, here it is, Halloween time. Fall has touched the leaves and turned them gold, the pumpkins are in the stores and pots of chrysanthemums in deep purple, yellow and maroon are flying out of them, and my favorite holiday is here again. I heard myself clear her throat and speak.

A costume for Fia. Why not make a costume for little Fia Lux de la Pellousery? That would be fun, wouldn't it? You haven't made one for such a long time.

I thought about it, and an idea came to me before she had even come home from the breeder's.

"A devil. I can make a devil costume for the diablotin."

That's not really very fair, is it? asked myself. I mean, she hasn't even had a chance to misbehave or to prove herself difficult, and here you are thinking of her as a little devil.

It was true. I acknowledged it, and her first 2 weeks at home made me feel even worse about it. She actually wasn't a diablotin at all. Maybe for her second Halloween.

It was the devil wings Doug brought up the other day that got me thinking. Or maybe it was because I was already thinking of making the angel costume and needed wings that he thought of telling Fia that devil's have wings, too.

I forget a lot of things these days. Soon I will need to sit and rest along the gym wall and watch the young 'uns have their fun.

But, it started to come together. I would make Fia angel wings and a halo. Fia is a Scottish name that means "arising from a dark peace" or "dark fairy". It would be perfect for her. I would only need to go to Truffaut again -- I had already gotten more red felt for a cape and some nifty red felt hearts in a chain I thought I could attach to her collar, as a gesture, you know, of her being really pretty good -- and get some stuff. I attached Fia's leash to her and tried to be very authoritative to get her to follow me to the damn car. When she got a whiff of where we were headed, she balked -- in the middle of the road.

I don't know why she doesn't like to get in the car. We do such fun things when we go places, and she gets to be with me.

We went first to the bank and deposited some money in the poor bank account and then went to the vet to weigh her for her 12 week birthday. 6 kgs! That's another kilo in the last week. She's still littler than Baccarat was at 8 weeks, but there were twice as many puppies in her littler. She'll catch up. Then, we drove over to Truffaut and Fia got in her place in the cart. I had some pheasant food to return for the pheasant I found limping in the road Sunday night, on my way home from dropping Sam at the train station, who didn't stay for breakfast; as well as things to pick up for her costume.

-- I had managed to get it out from behind an old mattress, propped against a stone wall, behind which it had taken refuge from my terrifying approach -- it was that or let the hunters shoot it in the middle of the Grande Rue the next day -- and take it home, where Audouin made it a dry leaf nest in the big black plastic tub I bought for the frogs back when we had to empty the old fountain of fish, frogs, plants and water to repair it. The next morning, I had gone over to Truffaut for some pheasant food and a water distributor, but when I removed the wood planks from the top of the tub, it found the strength it had lacked the previous night to take off at full wingspan, nearly knocking me over backwards and pooping all over Rapide in the process of taking flight. Audouin's daughter had nearly fallen over backwards from laughter --

We approached the accueil, and the security guy turned around to see who was approaching. A smile crept over his face when he saw the small black dog in the basket, and he glanced up at me, my new used Nikon D300 hanging around my neck. The cashier looked up and smiled, too.

"Je peux avoir cet appareil de photo?" he asked, breaking into a chuckle.

"Ca, non," I told him, "mais je prendrai votre photo," I offered. He laughed. I explained that I needed to make a return before doing my shopping, and he got the cashier's attention, who looked at the bag of pheasant food and the plastic drinking apparatus I was returning, along with a bag of ProPlan puppy food (Orijen this time, for both dogs).

"Quel est le problème avec ces produits?" asked the nice cashier.

"Bon, les produits sont très bien, mais le faisan blessé que j'ai accueilli est parti avant le petit déj, alors il paraîtrait qu'il ne soit si blessé que ça finalement," I replied. She laughed and wrote up the slip for me to take to have signed while the security guy went to see Fia.

"Allez," I said, "Je vous ai dit que je prendrais votre photo, alors!"

I lifted the camera up in front of my face -- the only way I can really see the world and my loved ones --, and he laughed out loud, delighted, while I snapped his picture with Fia, and then he walked me back to the animal supply department for the signature.

"Vous êtes anglaise d'origine?" he asked me as we walked to the back of the store, me pushing Fia in the cart.

"Non, américaine."

"Ah!" he turned and smiled at me. "Moi, je suis marocain d'origine. Vous savez qui était le premier à reconnaître les EtasèUnis?" he asked.

"Le Maroc?"

"Oui!," he said, beaming at me as we turned the corner into the animal needs department. I smiled back. Fia looked around. I hoped she wouldn't ask for a new collar or toy.

We stopped in front of the display of aquarium supplies, including the sea salt I had used to save George the Koi's life.

"Vous êtes photographe?" he asked me.

"Oh! Non! Non, je suis architecte, mais j'adore la photographie, et j'écris."

I sort of made the last part up. It makes me feel better about not doing any architecture, except the house renovation that I ignore and put off as much as possible.

"J'ai fais de la photographie," he told me. He had done weddings, until staying out every weekend night until 6 am cured him of his desire to be a photographer. Of weddings, anyway. I thought of the story another friend had told me, about when he worked for a newspaper and someone had borrowed the Mamiya to photograph a friend's wedding. When he'd opened the camera, he discovered the film hadn't caught and every time he had advanced and shot a photo, he'd been shooting on air.

No wedding pictures.

I'd done that, but never for anything like a wedding.

He got my signature, I ran into the employee who had told me that George the Koi was good for a plastic bag in the freezer and told him I'd been on the look-out for him to tell him the good news -- isolation in a 3% salt solution and the Baytril Nifurpirinol antibiotic tablets another employee had said wouldn't work did work, and then I went off to scout what was on hand in the arts and crafts section to make Fia's costume. We found wire, black tissue paper, silver star confetti (for her halo), black feathers, and a hot glue gun and the glue sticks for it, and then we went off to look for a garland, the only reason I could be happy to see Christmas decorations before all the leaves had turned, for her halo.

I found a pink boa with silver flecks and the security guy, who told me the rest of the Christmas stuff would be available for shopping the next day. I touched the pink and silver boa, the question Who would put this on their Christmas tree? flying through my head right before the joy of having found the perfect accessory for a dark angel.

"Non! C'est très bien, " I said, looking around me, reaching for the pink and silver boa. "Elle doit avoir ça!" I said, wrapping it around and around her small neck. It was perfect! "Elle devrait toujours porter ça au lieu d'un collier!" I added, laughing.

He wanted to know if I sold my cameras. I told him all about eBay and went back to arts and crafts for something to decorate the pipe cleaners I'd decided on the spot I'd make into her halo instead of a garland, and stopping along the way to chat with more dog owners and small children in my joyful delirium. I found silver star confetti. How absolutely perfect! This was such fun!

Fia was looking -- like she was having less fun. We went and got in the car.

Halloween is definitely for kids and parents.

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