The shock of having a whirlwind gusting through your house at gale force speed with no consideration for what lies in his path, be it animal, mineral or vegetable, is still something I struggle to get to grips with.
It was such a jolt to the system because Gherkin has always been such a quiet, generally gentle soul, with care and concern for objects – inanimate or otherwise. Pickle on the other hand charges around like the proverbial bull in a china shop. He is built like a ‘brick s***house’ as my Great Grannie Annie would have once said. And when he thunders towards you, you know it’s time to braaaaaaace or you will get hurt. Sometimes there’s even blood. Bizarrely, it’s never Pickle’s. OH once described him as having a head and bones of steel. That’s just his exterior.
Pickle barely cried when he burst into our lives. He was tough. We once ended up at A&E with a split chin after he fell off the sofa onto a hard wooden floor (some you-must-not-try-this-at-home WWE move which went drastically wrong. WWE has subsequently been banned). But the only tissues needed were those to stem the blood from his oozing chin. In contrast, inside his steely bones is the most ungrinch-like personality. Pickle has a heart that can only be described as being at least two sizes too big. He will share his last sweets, he will give the last Nobbly Bobbly to his girlfriend, he will dish out the biggest Pickle hugs (they hurt though) and he will stick up for his ‘guys’ in the playground (ok, so that has resulted in my being called into school).
Much of Pickle’s fear, anger, frustration, and memories are hidden inside this solid shell, and we get very mixed, confusing behaviours from him (more verbally aggressive than physically these days though). But he’s learning. He’s learning to trust. He’s learning that pushing the boundaries won’t lead to rejection. He’s bright, he’s wiley…let’s face it he’s downright manipulative at times. But he’s had to be. It’s about survival. Right back to those feral instincts. Spitting, scratching, biting. Thankfully we did away with those some time ago, so I know we’re ultimately heading the right direction.
My mum always says “It’s not about how far you have to go, it’s about how far you’ve come” and by God, we’ve come a long way, and that’s truly one of the greatest rewards of adoption.