The death of my cat Hopey was messy. I can’t stop thinking myself culpable. That’s why whenever I have to go back to the village of Le Buisson, where I took Hopey to be treated by the three veterinarians at the clinic, I freak out. I had to go back today, to see a dentist, and therein was the means for Hopey to come back and grant me, I think, some absolution.
Hopey’s death was messy because I still wonder if it’s the medicine that killed her. And I remember the moment after I started her on it, when she had a reaction — a catch in her throat — and I promised to stop giving her the medicine. I stopped for a day but she seemed to have a reaction to that so I, so I, so there I go again. Because in fact we depend on doctors in cases like this. We depend on them not to expect that we know how to manage. We depend on not having three doctors from the same clinic not always telling us the same thing, what medicine to start and what to stop, what dosage to take. We depend on not having one be distracted as if he has better things to do. But Hopey I tried, I tried to do always what was right by you and now today, you came back to help me take care of myself learning from your experience.
My teeth have been aching in three different sectors for three weeks. Last week-end it was excruciating, so I made appointments with various dentists, finally today I had one with a dentist no one had recommended and I wasn’t sure until the last half hour before the rendez-vous that I would go through with it. I went back and forth. Could I afford to wait until I was closer to Paris and then see my Paris dentist, who I not only like but totally trust? (And not only because in his waiting room there’s a poster of Seberg and Belmondo from Godard’s Bout de Souffle, perhaps a reflection of his having an American mother and a French father.) Finally somewhere, somewhere on that street, where I used to roam between visits to Hopey, where I found a church to pray for forgiveness, finally Hopey came to me and said, or rather communicated, one thought applicable to two situations, her health and mine that yes, I should take care of myself, but it didn’t mean I had to go to a doctor I didn’t know if there was another possibility. Learn from my experience Paul, let me leave you with something besides guilt.