Hallo! My only and older sister had a little baby girl, Stella, at the beginning of the year. For their first Christmas together (which I will unfortunately miss), I’d like to give her a gift to bring closer to her, her own identity. A deeply sentimental, contemplative, and bright woman, she was top in her class of LLB at Stellenbosch University. She went on to do her honors in Philosphy specialising in Animal Rights. Thereafter Journalism. She has always been painfully passionate about saving animals – always adopting a cat, volunteering at the SPCA, or debating with wine-in-hand that animals are vulnerable and therefore should have more refined rights than stupid humans. She eventually took a job at the Rapport, having to leave her cats with my mom, and moved to Joburg from Cape Town to cut her teeth in hard news. Of course, not without losing her heart to a throw-away feline and adopting him mere days after unpacking. The yellow-eyed, silky black Matewis with a disproportionately long tail became central to Loren’s life. My visits to her new horizon were exciting and we’d spend long evenings sitting on her balcony talking about her belief in and power of the moon. As the years ticked by, things started to change. She got an opportunity at Huisgenoot – a seemingly more merciful occupation than covering politics and crime, but in reality not without drifting farther away from ethics and morality. Being a 27 year old in the weird world of a ce-pleb-rity induced Huisgenoot – she wanted a boyfriend badly. Got a terrible one. He left her. And then she became quite unhappy. Her weekends were filled with tall bottles of mediocre sauvignon blanc, wild nights, vienna-crust-pizzas, and dark Sunday evenings. Except for Matewis, who was always there to soothe over the consuming existential thoughts and insomnia. On one of her planned-to-be benders, she met a man. She knew it was different. They fell in love. He’s a type-A. Works in finance, most Saturdays too. 10 years her senior – looks 10 years her junior. He is excruciatingly beautiful. He eats steamed broccoli and soaks the fat out of Woolies schnitzels. Solely believes in coincidence. Does yoga and Muay Thai fighting 6 days a week. Hyper-focused and has a temper. We all still walk on egg-shells around him. Nonetheless,her life was revolutionised. She started to exercise vehemently, started skipping the bottle and opted for Matcha instead. Her processes became streamlined, focusing her love and dedication to her friends and remedied health. She was soon head-hunted by a major media house for an sought-after white-collar position and quickly moved to the top. Within two years they were married and moved into a brand new, pristine, hypermodern house in one of the best areas in Sandton. But Matewis wasn’t allowed. He didn’t fit the profile. Cats are hairy and scratch expensive couches. Cats shows weakness. Cats are the weak peoples’ animal. A swooned and surprisingly compliant sister of mine agreed that Matewis had to be deported to join her other cats at our mothers’ house. (Noting that our mom welcomed this with wide open arms – I suspect she secretly adores cats more than humans too.) One month after the wedding, a rice-grain sized baby-Stella made her existence known. A month ago Matewis became ill. His silky coat looked haggard. We found he had Leukemia. Having been a “flat cat” prior to the move to Cape Town, coming into a large house with seven other cats was daunting for this spooky guy. After another fight, a wound on his head became septic. Parents overseas, I took him to the vet. I pleaded with her to see if she could take him back to Joburg once he is better. They were meant to be together. He died that night. I believe his death sparked something within Loren. She has moved so far away from who she is – the vulnerable yet curious mind, turned systematic and grey. She has been avoiding my calls since because it’s tough to confront what is permanently lost when you’ve unvirtuously let it go. I wish that she will forgive herself, and find it within to let the real-Loren shine through. I wish that she will take the life with her husband and Stella, and politely yet unyieldingly align it with her truth. Stella which subsequently means ‘star’, her affinity with the moon, Mat the longtailed black cat, my wild horses, her as a mother. I would say these are central symbols which I feel will draw her closer to herself. Will you draw that?

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