“When we die,” a friend once informed me, “there is a bridge to the afterlife. We are met by a dog that we have known on earth. That dog leads us across the bridge and into paradise. So it is imperative that we keep at least one dog during our lives.”
He is Zoroastrian. The only Zoroastrian I know, to be honest. It seems an obscure and alien religion but in fact it is the origin of monotheism: the first religion to recognise God as a single entity. Therefore it is the pre-cursor of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Taking a deep draw from a cigarette I digest the thought and exhale far across the sitting room, shrouding our two cats in gray smoke. They give me that feline expression; a mixture of disdain and disgust that cats do so well. “I had dogs all my life until I was about 30 years old,” I offer, “but our current flats only allow cats. Do you think I can get across the bridge with a cat?”
We both know the answer. Cats have no interest in helping us out. Cats are only interested in themselves. The best I could hope for from our cats would be an indifferent nod towards the bridge as they licked themselves clean on a pile of my freshly laundered shirts.
“And you know the Magi were Zoroastrians,” he offers. “Coming from the East, bringing gifts to the Christ-child, it is a symbolic; the originators of a single-god paying homage to God-made-Man. Gold for a king, frankincense for a deity, myrrh for a martyr”
“Biscuits for the dog?” I can’t resist the opportunity for frivolity. Never could.
Keep the Faith,