I’ve decided to use my “K” day to introduce a minor character in the stories.
Her name is Stuff. She’s a cat. A particularly perceptive cat.
Stuff is Giovanni’s cat, named after a cat my husband had before he met me. I had asked him why he named his cat Stuff. “Because he was just a bunch of stuff,” he answered simply.
When Giovanni gives the same answer in the book, he says it in an indulgent baby voice while Stuff lies over his shoulders like a stole—another attribute of my husband’s cats. When Giovanni uses that baby voice, it’s all Sarah can do not to crack up laughing.
I wanted Stuff to show us something about Giovanni. He’s a tenderhearted character who craves an indulgent kind of love. He probably should have been a dog guy. After all, he’s loyal, eager to please, and kind. If he had a tail, he’d wag it a lot.
But we don’t always pick pets—or lovers, for that matter—who are like us. Giovanni is drawn to women (and cats) who are smart, independent, strong, no-nonsense. Attributes that seemed to have evaded Giovanni’s character.
Perhaps there’s a truth there somewhere about who we choose to love. I didn’t try to make Sarah and Giovanni opposites, and they really aren’t. Both are very intelligent with esoteric interests. Both are hungry and overdue for a consuming kind of love. But I think lovers who complement each other are especially beautiful. They feel that sense of completion and joy long after passion wanes.
So, Giovanni can become Sarah’s mouthpiece, and she can be his grounding, and together can give each other’s heart a home and safe haven. He can be like her loyal, friendly dog, and she can be like his practical, insightful cat.
Hopefully, I can manage to make their relationship work out somehow. Love is hard.
Of course, Stuff will be there to let Giovanni know he’s done something especially boneheaded with her angry mews and a paw smack upside the head. Sometimes he needs that.