Inspired by a story I read at backfence PDX, a story.
Back in the day I did a study abroad in Ecuador. I had never traveled overseas before and since it was for 4 months, I asked my friend Mark to either live in or look after my apartment and cat while I was gone. He did so, which was extremely nice of him. But when I got home, it was hard to tell if he had lived there or if he had just visited occasionally to take care of the cat because there was this insane quantity of cat hairballs floating all around the hardwoods and linoleum floors. So much so, I had to sweep pretty much immediately upon arriving home because otherwise the furballs would be all over everything.
I was pretty lucky that Mark even looked after my apartment. When I had asked him, he had his eye on me, and while he was fun to hang out with, I was not as taken with him. Unfortunately however, I was very interested in a mutual friend of ours.
I had pretty much given up on this mutual friend, but it was really hard to quash the crush I had.
Well the night before I left for Ecuador, the crush drove me home in his fancy car (he had a Miata, this was in ’95) and told me he liked me.
Mark was really mad as he saw me get into the crush’s car. I was really uncomfortable and scared and feeling extremely conflicted, I held on to the door handle and pressed as close to the door as though I was going to make an escape. But it was very hard to not be excited by being shown attention by this person I had admired for the past year.
It was hard to negotiate the roaring flame I had for this crush. So, I was lucky that Mark even took care of my apartment, and the furballs were not a biggie. I commenced sweeping.
In order to do a thorough job of it, I had to get everything off the floor. All stuff was removed either to the couch or bed (it was a studio apartment) and I creatively and precariously balanced the cat box on the windowsill. Now, this catbox was one with a large top on it that allowed the cat to have more privacy and also to keep the odors contained. I wedged it between the window and the sill with the entrance to the box on the outside of the apartment. I figured I would take it down when the job was done. Did I mention I lived on the 3rd floor?
The phone rang. And who but the crush?
He wanted to see me. After a year of having a repressed raging attraction to this young man, and just now being able to look at him with more than crush in denial stupor…I ecstatically and hastily dropped everything and headed out to meet him.
It’s sad, but I don’t remember what we did together. I don’t think it matters, because when you are spending time with a person you are incredibly excited to see, even watching golf on TV isn’t so bad.
But for 6 hours we hung out, talked, walked around and wondered if the other was a good kisser.
I can tell you it was a very chaste and careful courtship, he was a youth pastor. And the carefulness of it was for me, refreshing and different. It was like pretending to be Amish for a bit.
When I got home my mind was in the land of possibilities. Is he a good kisser? How long till I get tired of holding hands? The tension was overwhelming, almost debilitating with this crush.
The pile of kitty litter on the ground under my window hardly registered.
I realized to some extent what might…
I got up to my door and a very mangled catbox was outside my door.
“Crap,” I thought, “I have to buy another catbox.” I realized my cat wasn’t in my apartment and suddenly that this was not good.
Minutes later a knock came on my door. Another tenant named Peter told me he had my cat in his apartment.
“He is a little scraped up, but he is ok,”
I arrived at Peter’s to see that Loopy had blood on his nose but nothing else looked too bad.
I began to piece together what I had done.
“You set his box in the window,” Peter said “I actually saw him scratching, well actually I heard him first because he was so loud and making so much noise and litter was flying out. And then the box just came loose from the window and fell 3 stories.”
Since our apartment was shaped like a U, Peter’s second floor apartment window faced the windows of the other apartments. Below both of our windows was the entry walkway through a courtyard, ending in the front door.
Peter told me the cat crashed and then dashed out of the box and he caught him because the cat was cornered in the courtyard. I thanked Peter, and felt like maybe I should go look up some recipes for crow.
At about that time I also began to feel incredibly bad for the cat. Returning to my place, the RA was at my door. Dulcinea was her name. While she didn’t yell at me, she was firm at a time when I was already aware of my crum-bumness. I was to clean up the mess in the courtyard.
Every time I looked at Loopy’s nose I imagined him scratching away fast and furiously as the box teetered in the window, and finally loosed flying 3 stories down. Cat inside, wondering when he was going to be able to do his business.