Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Vision@sff.net
Holly Lisle's Vision

Lessons Taught 
By a Siamese Friend's Life

By Cheryl Peugh

2002, Cheryl Peugh

As the first clods of Missouri dirt covered the blue paint that read "Simba" on one side of the box lid, and "1980 - 98" on the other side, I thought of all the things the cat inside the box and I had been through in our lives together.  She'd been born practically into my hands, this cat, and I watched her slip away from my hands at the end of her life.  It nearly felt like the end of mine.

 

When she was born, I wanted a name that was unique - something other than Fluffy or Tabby or Spot.   She was half-Siamese, half traveling salesman, and emerged as a gray and black tiger stripe with white points.  I chose Simba - an African name that means "lion."  A good name, I thought.  No one would ever choose that name.  Both Simba and I were insulted when Disney's "The Lion King" came out.  We considered suing, but the Disney people had more money than we did so we dropped it.

As everyday inspiration, Simba gave me her all.  Without words, she encouraged me to write and send off stories.  Without words, she comforted me when rejection came back time and time again.  She would just look at me with wide green eyes that showed complete and utter trust and faith in my abilities.  Faced with that, I could not give up even when convinced I couldn't write my way out of a wet paper bag.

When Simba got sick at age thirteen, she taught me a greater lesson about fighting for what I wanted than any stirring speech I could have read or heard.  I wasn't about to let my friend down by giving up on her.  I couldn't any more than she could give up on me.  Together, we fought and defeated the disease when even the vets had given up hope.

 

She still teaches me lessons every day, even though she left me at the ripe old age of eighteen.  Whenever I think about quitting or giving up, I remember how she used to look at me and I know I'll go on.  I'll keep on writing until that trust and that faith is justified.  I don't want her ever to be disappointed in me.  My Siamese friend holds me to a high standard that I follow, and will continue to follow, for the rest of my days.  Simba, I learned my lessons well.  Rest in peace, my friend.