Not surprisingly, we stopped texting and I started to lose touch with her. It upset me because I felt like we were getting close. I texted her that I didn't want to hear anymore and then realized how hurtful that must have been to her. Her job means a lot to her and I dismissed it. I quickly remedied the situation and told her that I didn't mean she couldn't tell me about her work. I added how much I admire her because it's not a job that many people could handle. I'd been sure that she would want to bring home every stray she encounters. And she does. But she's also practical and professional and knows that she can't.
We continue to text and she sends me pictures of animals in their cages and fills in their back stories. I don't tell her anymore that it upsets me. I want us to be close.
Then I saw a book at the bookstore that made me think of her: Unsaid, by Neil Abramson. The inside flap reads:
It sounded like it might be a difficult book to read. It sounded depressing, yet compelling. I bought it.
Unsaid is Abramson's debut novel and was well-crafted and as compelling as I'd hoped. He employs the deceased Helena as his narrator, so we see the story unfold from her perspective. It was a clever way to unveil all the emotion that the characters deal with as they work with the animals Helena has left behind. The courtroom drama is also well done. Not surprising since Abramson is an attorney. I was torn between the strong pull of the animal rights perspective and the practical need for scientific research. He balanced that well, and it again reminded me of my daughter-in-law.
It would be simple to be idealistic and wish that every animal in the world had a home and was well taken care of. It would be easy to admonish those who have to take a more practical approach to the animal control problems in the world. What we easily forget is that many of these people love animals and have chosen to work with them.
I could never do Chelsea's job. She is much stronger than I am. The animals that she works with are lucky to be with her, however briefly. She tends to them and takes care of them. She cares for them. I'm going to send her my copy of Unsaid. Like Helena, she's going to make a wonderful vet someday.