by Robert Fenhagen (USA)
pentru versiunea română click aici
Staring into the Siamese cat’s eyes, I imagined things that made me wonder if I were going crazy.
“You have been marching for years. Have you any ideas as to where you are marching to?” asked the cat.
“I am well versed in your habits, both good and bad. Why do practicing ones’s bad habits appeal to humans, and why can’t you people talk to one another?”
I stared at the cool blue-gray eyes—so intelligent and aloof. I blinked, as did the cat.
Sitting in my friend’s living room, the cat’s eyes were so intelligent!
I loved this girl, but was all about her cat at the moment.
I shook my head.
“The stupid cat was a cat for Christ’s sake! Get it together”, I thought. I always yell at myself worse than most people yell at people they hate, or so it seemed. I could be brutal—at least to myself.
Was this Siamese devil-cat speaking to me, or was I just channeling my own inner thoughts onto the cat?
Of course, the cat wasn’t speaking to me– it couldn’t, but I was hearing something.
What is a cat anyway? A mammal, right?
A warm blooded animal — a mirror to my soul?
She and I are mammals, too. Our blood is warm—oh, never mind…
Please, knock it off, me. Lisa and I would remain friends.
I looked into this animal’s eyes—their color appeared to vary from cobalt blue to soft gray at times, and then at other times, I just saw the sunshine reflected in those eyes, those exquisite, beautiful, intelligent eyes. So serene, and so, so knowing all that they beheld.
I felt so insignificant.
My friend walked through the living room, asking if I was ok. I smiled and nodded.
“Why do you look so sad? You have no reason to be. Relax.” (I was so attracted to her, but was too stupidly shy to make a move.)
Shaking my head, I looked around the small apartment. Books and books lined one of the baby-scarred, pale green walls, and used-furniture store table (which wobbled) stood wobbly and splintered around the tiny room. She had a cheap plastic table cloth with fishing scenes on it. Such were her decorating skills. Money talks and decorating walks. She had no money, but was rich in gentleness. She was special in ways I had never known existed. I dreamed about her—the person, not the cat.
Otherwise, my girl’s life was made up of uncertainties. Economics were foreign subjects to her. I love her. I never considered it before, but, actually, I was pretty well-off–funny I hadn’t thought about that before.
Not her cat, though, that was for sure. No economic crap for this cat, no sir. Her cat seemed more than happy to relax serenely on the upper edge of the cat clawed, threadbare couch, and watching humans as we dithered about.
I couldn’t hear if it was purring, but it looked utterly at peace with the world as it sat, and watched.
“I don’t know how the hell I’m going to pay the rent. I just don’t know.” Spoke my friend.
I looked up, away from the cat’s intense stare, and softly replied:
“Something has to break. Something will come along.”
The cat blinked and it stroked its beige fur. The cat’s reaction to my caress was almost sexual. Sensual, that’s what it was. The cat blinked again.
“Why don’t you speak to her, perhaps with your heart?” The cat blinked again. Intelligent blue and gray eyes looking at me and gone as the cat blinked.
I got up from the couch, patting a gray and black checked throw pillow, and tossing it where I been sitting. I felt glad to be there—hell, I was happy to be anywhere around this woman and her crazy cat, but I also felt uncomfortable in her place. She is a very intelligent person, who wasn’t interested in things that drove many people, namely paying bills on time and vacuuming, but if we got into a conversation about politics or the homeless, from capitalism to socialism, from intimacy to…
I silently chastised myself for my brain. Shut up, brain.
Even though I knew very well that she had been burned in the past and never would allow me beyond the friendship, I thought of being closer. Mostly, I kept my emotions in check, but between my stupid mind and this cat, I was balled up.
Why had I even come here? Am I crazy? Am I a glutton for punishment?
I stepped onto a 4×6 throw rug, which was old and stained, but was really nice in a hippyish sort of way, and then went over to one of her many book shelves. I couldn’t guess where she had found such book cases—they looked old, but looked new at the same time. Weird.
Her decorating was slip-shod at best, but she had her books in fine, deep brown wood cases that were polished impeccably. There was only about ten feet along one of her walls—this one painted orange, but the book cases lined every available inch—from the windows to the living room from which I had stepped. Incredible.
Volumes of psychology and self help books, novels and history books, trash and treasures stood at attention, or leaned drunkenly against one another like soldiers after an especially harrowing battle—some standing straight at attention and a few leaning lazily against one another.
Running my finger along the spines of the books, I paused at one in particular.
It was a thick tome, which was pink print over back binding cloth on the spine.
“Seize The Day– A modern Approach to Romance”. Pink printing captured me– that and the fact that my friend seemed to own mostly ‘intellectual’ books and this one seemed to be ‘light’–a chick-book.
This girl was anything but a chick, or was she? She had the straight black hair of a Goth, but might wear jeans and tennis shoes, or a ratty men’s suit—too big, but really good looking on her.
I think she’s beautiful.
I picked up the pink-spined book and opened it. A book mark fell out, so I leaned over and picked it up.
“Live Now!” Said the bookmark in bold black on white. It was freshly printed, or so it seemed. I sighed and the cat blinked again. I caught it out of the corner of my eye.
I replaced the book, went to the aquarium that was overgrown with moss and was filthy, but there must have been five-hundred tiny goldfish in there.
Expecting nothing, I smiled at them. An occasional bubble escaped from one of them now and then, and then they were forming words. Of course, I thought. What could be more natural? Told you I was loosing my mind.
“She has been watching you more than you watch her. Go!”
I walked over to the window, which looked out on an ancient city park and looked out of the peeling fire escape, and saw a flock of geese landing in the city lake. Of course, soon they had formed letters:
TALK TO HER, YOU CHICKEN
I wrinkled my forehead—I must have, even though I’m 21, asked myself if she could have slipped something into the tea she’d had given me.
No, she was a health-freak to boot. She was so many things.
“What are you doing?” I started, and turned; she had changed from jeans into a long, silvery gown, which showed off her wonderful and amazing body!
I never knew she had such lovely breasts. And face! My gosh, she looked like an angel now, where before she looked, gosh, I can’t remember what she looked like!
“I’m looking around your apartment, that’s all.” I said, trying my darnedest not to stutter.
“Oh, ok. Would you like to talk?” She asked, smiling. She had really white teeth—something I’d never noticed…. Dummy!
And dimples. Where’d they come from?
“Yeah, sure.” I answered as she led me to the couch. She held my hand.
The cat jumped down to land between us, and then jumped down to the rug, and was soon rubbing my leg. Watching it, I blinked.