Chapter Five

I get lost in thought. Sometimes my wind wanders to different places during conversation, that curious child manifesting itself in my mind. I miss crucial points of stories. I don’t listen when someone tells the punchline on a joke. I’ll forget when we were lost in each others eyes. I won’t remember your name; My attention follows strange cars and recall plots of movies I had long convinced myself I had forgotten, like a child discovering the toy lodged in the current of chaos that lives under his bed. Only sometimes though.

On this particular morning of question, a cloudless morning in the midst of an endurable summer, I was lost in thought again. My internal dialogue was plowing through concepts and motor functions like Paul Bunyan encapsulated in Styrofoam- I was bursting with ideas. I had convinced myself I was capable of doing something I completely wasn’t; I thought I could imagine what I was going to say to a strangers on based exclusively on what they had said to me, when something truly absurd had happened.

At first, I couldn’t believe it. I turned my head back towards his litter box and continued to scoop his leavings. I assumed it was another of those strangers voices, that my mental reality was blending with my sensory. This wouldn’t be the first time. Or the last.

But then I heard it again. I fell back and let my bony ass hit the ground, and looked at him intently.  His eyes responded with their deep wide knowing, an immediate recognition and acceptance of the things I just couldn’t accept or even recognize. He was deaf and incapable of communicating, but he was emotionally light years ahead of me. I reached out to pick him up, but he scampered off into the bedroom, and paused in the center of the room, and looked back at me, and darted under the bed, his safe spot. That was the only time he ever didn’t let me pick him up. It was also the only time he ever ran away from me. He has virtually no fear or people. I am convinced that he is convinced he is one of us. In every department, he behaves the opposite that a normal cat would. And right then, I understood that there was no reason for this recent piece of unbelievable information to be any different than that.

A talking cat seemed perfectly possible to me then, but for some reason I didn’t want to believe it. Because believing that meant believing everything else I never could believe. It meant there was a camouflaged door between wonder and reality, that there is a shapeless unexplainable entity choosing who this happens to and who bears witness. It meant that all the studying economy, politics and science that I spent my formative years “understanding” were immediately proved false and disregarded. I wasn’t ready to have my existence thus far undoubtedly proved as a meaningless waste. It was too much to handle while I was scooping out his shit for him.

Then in the hall I clearly heard him announce “Daddy, I’m hungry!” and I winced when I should have been grateful for the blessing I had received.

Some things just don’t change because you want them to.


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