Welcome back those of you who have followed this story since the beginning and are now here to see it come to an end. When last we were together I was telling of how we came to a deeper understanding of Jim’s nature and what that meant for all of us. Naturally we all decided to err on the side of denial, after all some things just can’t be and a cat that will take out rivals with the calm and deadly planning of a CIA special operative is certainly one of those things. My sister of course was the sensible one and felt we were foolish not to admit the truth of the situation. I did however have a chat one evening after a few drinks with MJ and simply said, well what would you have us do, send him away – do you think he’d actually take that. Not having any response she wisely dropped the subject and life continued on as it always had.
Day to-day there was little of note other than new parties, assignments due and exams to study for that is right up until everything changed. Now when I was much younger I was told I would not be able to have children due to scarring from polycystic ovaries and endometriosis and while it was not something that made me happy it was something I had accepted.
I had been feeling off for a little while, tired and nauseous and when it didn’t pass I went to the GP saying I think I had the flu. Well even with me protesting he did a pregnancy test [just to be sure] and there it was, I was pregnant. This came as shock to everyone, Matt and I especially, but it was a good thing and we began to prepare for the new arrival. Due to the extensive scar tissue it was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a great deal of time in and out of hospital so that I didn’t lose the baby.
We found a new home and started to set up and all this time Jim just watched. When I sat on the veranda with a foot rest for my feet he would perch on the ledge and stare. Not at me, at my ever-growing bump which he regarded with a deep and abiding suspicion. When the walls were painted, he stared, when new furniture arrived he stared. I could no longer walk anywhere without feeling his presence and the sense of something building. For the first time I really thought about all that had gone before and I would look down at my baby belly and up into the ever-present eyes of Jim and saw a deep patience and waiting coupled with the assurance of coming out on top.
Things began to move quickly and soon I was picking out baby clothes and sheets, organising car seats and prams yet I never forgot Jim. In the week before my son was born Jim became more and more preoccupied with the nursery. I always had the door closed, never really thinking why until I came in one afternoon and saw the window open [I’d left it open to air out the paint smell that was still there] and Jim sitting in the cot looking at me as if to say – So What are gonna do huh. I’ll tell you what I did, I picked that feline up by the scruff of his neck and sent him flying down the corridor, his furry butt skidding across the polished floor like it was and ice rink.
He spun and spun and finally came to a halt but didn’t move for a moment, then again neither did I. The look he gave me was part fury part shock. This was not the way things worked in his world, I should have been cowed. Well what I was, was one seriously pissed off mother to be who quite honestly told that cat if I found him within spitting distance of that room again the baby would have a nice fur blanket and slippers to come home to. Managing to stand Jim shook himself and glared at me then stalked off with a very injured air about him.
I meant to talk to Matt that night but it was the eve of the America’s cup and New Zealand was one of the favourites so Matt was a bit excited and I let it slide for the evening. At 5am I woke to the sound of the phone and the incredible pain of the first stage of labour. My father-in-law rang and bellowed down the phone ‘we’ve won the America’s cup and I replied excellent I’m in labour – gotta go. The story of my son’s birth is a drama worthy of its own post but suffice to say that eventually on Mothers Day 14 May 1995 Michael was born. I spent the next seven days in hospital recovering my strength and taking advantage of the fact that I had a few days before stepping into the scary but thrilling world of motherhood.
Before I went home I spoke to Matt about Jim and what he’d done and suggested that it wasn’t safe for the baby. He then told me an odd story. Jim had been missing since I had gone into hospital. Matt hadn’t thought much of it at first, being somewhat otherwise engaged but when he did notice he asked around. [not very extensively I’ll grant you] Strangely Jim had been spotted about a block away at the house of an elderly couple. Matt spoke with them and found out that for the last few months Jim had been spending more and more time there and at the time I had gone into hospital he had simply turned up and not left.
They apologised, thinking that they had somehow stolen him and offered to give him back and stop feeding him if he came around again but when Matt took a step toward Jim he flattened his ears and hunkered down. Relieved [without actually saying so] Matt explained that I had just had a baby and that maybe Jim was a little out of sorts. It came down to the fact that Jim wanted to stay and Matt didn’t want to take him. When he told me this I was a little surprised at first but then once I thought on it, the whole thing made perfect Jim sense. Once he understood what the ever-increasing belly meant he realised that here might be a rival he could not remove with impunity or one he could lesson in his normal manner without paying a price. Still not prepared to give up his home he nevertheless prepared an alternate residence – MONTHS IN ADVANCE.
The day I had sent him flying down the hallway was to him the line in the sand and he was forced to concede that in this matter he would not win. Rather than just accept a new addition to the household he utilised his safe house and moved out. Now here is something that I wouldn’t admit to anyone at the time but I was secretly terrified that despite Jim having a new abode and caretakers he would feel obliged to return and pay us a visit just to remind us of exactly who we had wronged. Michael slept in our room in a bassinet for the first month and despite the decorating we had done to our place I was not sad when told that the owner was selling and that we would have to find a new place to live. For a long time I would get up at night and check all the windows to make sure that they were sealed and if I thought I saw the shadow of a cat lying in the branch of the tree in the weeks before we moved I am SURE it was merely my imagination and not Jim bent on feline vengeance against he who had forced his removal.
So things brings us to the end of the Chronicles of Jim or at least the parts that I know. For a long time I didn’t trust the idea of a cat as a pet which was sad as I think that on the whole they are rather cool animals, if a little more predatory than most like to believe. This wasn’t the great dramatic ending that some were hoping for but it is what happened. I may have shortened periods of time simply for expediency sake in storytelling as in general day to day life while not boring is not often greatly entertaining. This is goodbye to the ginger Jim and his antics and in my heart of hearts I must admit that living 2000km away from his last known address does give one a sense of comfort.