The prompt last night was to write a nonfiction piece responding to one of the following prompts.
My Kind of America
Freedom. Soaring like an eagle through crisp blue skies, playfully maneuvering rising currents of warm, clean air. Running, through beautiful thickets of trees, the smell of wood in the air, the distant sounds of river rapids in your ears. What is it to be free? To go simply because there is no border? To sit and relax in the afternoon sun?
My feline housemate has taught me quite a bit about freedom. Watching her move from the chair after a nap to stretch out on the massage cushion, readying herself for another nap as I grudgingly prepare to face traffic prompted a moment of reflection. ‘Why’ is usually the first question one typically asks, as in, ‘Why do I put up with this when I can be more like that?”
In the course of getting to know her, she has shown me a lot about what it is to be free. With her litter box outside, she is free to roam the night uninhibitedly. During the day, my return home from work brings with me the sound of my bike’s engine which induces yet another familiar rumble. That of the deep purrs as my housemate rolls about on the concrete which blocks my approach with a simple test of greeting before she joins me as we walk inside the house.
Why, do you wonder, would she do this with unwavering frequency? Resourceful and something of a tough kitty, why return? Why give up a life of gallivanting about on endless adventure to lay on a floor while her humans spend a full hour sitting and looking at moving images of humans on adventures when they could do the same? Seems like it’s what makes any relationship worth having. It’s freedom of choice. The same freedom that every person lives for. The same one that our parents chose when they decided to love us more than themselves. To care for us when we couldn’t, to show us how to be loving and affectionate, to give up a part of themselves so we can flourish. It’s an understanding that involves more than one entity. ‘Freedom isn’t free’ it is an expression that never has a follow up explanation as you must know that someone gave their life for you to be here, in more ways than one, and that is something to cherish.
So, the story of the cat and my kind of America, the link? Let me begin with this, she endures much living with us, but she is allowed to go as she pleases. She is cared for and loved immensely. My America is one where through love, we understand we are free to choose for ourselves and be wanted. As I currently write this, I do so from Thailand because I want to go, but I do not feel wanted by love from my homeland. I also see many others who belong there are not loved either. They are not cared for in the least. They are not wanted.
My feline housemate has no financial contributions to the house-economy, but without her, our home is incomplete. She has friends, we do not care much for them, especially the loud orange one that just can not and will not shut up, but we do not stop her from engaging with it, nor do we construct ways to block it from coming around because to do so would be infringing on her freedom of choice. Love is what compels me to allow her this.
So in my America, love is what sets one free and shows that belonging to another is a wonderful display of freedom.
-Your neighborhood friendly asshole