The Tale of
Carrie and Cordelia
by Kim Ruzich
The picture of me makes me think I am a descendent of the fictional Norman Bates, though I wasn’t homicidal, clingy, or mother obsessed. I am all but alone as I walk these faceless city streets and byways. My name is Carrie and they have been my home for the past year as I travel the country, looking for my muse and my song. It’s amazing how you can be alone in a sea of humanity. I chose to be here after I left my foster home. They were overrun with foster kids primarily taken in for the money the state gave them. There was no rhyme, reason or identity in that structure. No one cared. It reminded me of the strays I’d seen on the street, fighting over dumpster scraps. It’s why I picked up this kitten in my travels. She was too small to defend herself from the other alley cats. She is all the family I have. The journey has been a bitch. But not nearly as much as living in that disgusting foster home…weeds up to your knees, paint peeling from the walls like rain running off a sycamore leaf, a rusted 1955 Chevy in the yard like an unfinished Frankenstein and garbage so rancid even the crows won’t go near it.
Anyways…I named the kitten Cordelia. She seemed small and delicate and the name fit her. She turned out to be my muse…something I didn’t realize at first. Cordelia and I wandered the streets and cities, trying to find food and shelter. I panhandled or did odd jobs as I could, like washing dishes or mopping floors so Cordelia and I could soothe our aching bellies. We didn’t mind, Cordelia and I. It was part of our purpose and destiny…sort of like we had to pass each test before we reached our destiny. Destiny…funny thing isn’t it? What is it, really? I suppose it is what we are supposed to be, or try to be. But really…what ARE we supposed to be? WHO are we supposed to be…especially if we never had an identity growing up? That is why I needed my muse, Cordelia. Muses are the ones that guide you to your purpose in life…your destiny. She doesn’t mew often, but when she does, I know Cordelia is telling me something…even if I have no idea what it is at the time. I’ve come to find out that what she is trying to tell me to do or what will need to happen for me to take my next step to my destiny usually happens after she speaks.
In our journeys we have encountered people both kind and mean, polite and rude. I try and take a lesson from each of them. It has shown me sides of human nature that I knew existed, and didn’t know existed, and makes me grow as a person in return. I am learning my song. The melodies and harmonies come from the noises all around me and Cordelia. The lyrics are made up as we travel along. It may not be some people’s idea of a great existence, but to me it is better than that fucking foster home.
We started in nowhere Indianapolis (think about it…Indiana No Place), and worked our way to the mountains of Estes Park, Colorado. It feels right here…the air is clear, as are the thoughts in my head. Cordelia likes it too. She purrs when we sit down on the bench that overlooks Lake Estes…as if to tell me this is where we were meant to be.
I have a job in a coffee shop now, and a small apartment to call my own. The regulars are good folks who treat me like a human being. Sure, we get the occasional asshole who thinks he is more important than everyone else and gets demanding with me and the other employees…the regulars usually give them the what for and they either settle down or leave. I’ve done my time…I don’t need someone else’s drama. Cordelia is still my muse, lounging on the twin bed in our apartment…especially when the sun shines in through the window overlooking Lake Estes.
Will we be here forever? Living in this apartment and working this job? I don’t know…my song hasn’t been finished yet.