I am an almost perilously independent person. I’ve had to be since I was very young, and I’ve been grateful for the experience; being self-made is powerful. But every once in a while something rocks me to my core, and when it does I’m as incapable of disguising my heartbreak as if I had trackmarks running up and down my arms. Without disclosing any details (I rarely do about my love life), right now I’m as raw as an exposed nerve–it’s been hard to eat, hard to concentrate, hard to look in anyone’s eyes without welling up, hard to take in anyone’s story but my own. Even as I type this, my stomach feels like the bottom of a vat of acid, and my fingers are shaking enough that I’ve had to redo this sentence twice. As an intuitive and as a human cat, I’m uniquely ill-equipped for deliberate cruelty–for one thing, I can really spot it (it’s rarer that most realize)–and when I can’t step out of its way, it lays me flat. The only good part of these last few days has been the reminder that no one expects me to be as together as I do. This last year I have been shown again and again that even islands need shores. I am grateful for those willing to provide them even when my pain renders me as ugly and swollen and urgent as a broken face.
I had so many plans for this weekend–I was coming off a few weeks of nonstop work and had heard temperatures were going to be mild (my favorite roving-around-the-city weather). Instead, I climbed into a caftan, pulled Gracie on my lap, and have been reading by an open window for two days straight with nonverbal jazz by cats like Dizzy and Monk pouring out of my speakers. I began Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky’s book of interviews with David Foster Wallace, an author I only find fascinating for his hold over well-educated white men (who, of course, mostly comprise the literary establishment) and Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo (“I had no systematic way of learning but proceeded like a quilt maker”), and finished The Arsonist, Sue Miller’s latest novel (too polite, too drifting), and The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir about her deceased husband (so emotionally and artistically devastating that I’ll be living in it for years). I haven’t answered a text; I haven’t looked at a screen. The only times I’ve come up for air have been to eat or drink something, and I’ve mostly ordered in. I’d be remorseful about this lost weekend except for how terrifically human I feel again. Part of June’s charm is how little it asks of us.
Things I know about permakitten Grace after being totally housebound the last two days. 1. She drags her three toys with her all over the house like a kid with her favorite stuffed animals. 2. She is deathly afraid of the sound of opening seltzer bottles. Carbonation is rather scary, I guess. 3. The reiki certification class that I took her to paid off. (The instructor said we could bring our pets.) She’s been doing paws-on healing all day by laying her tiny tiger limbs solemnly upon my inflamed back, reikitty style, and could teach Rademenes a thing or two. 4. Whenever she’s not attending to her invalid roomie, she’s stationed by the window, snooping on our neighbors who are snooping on everyone else. God, she’s such a Rosman girl.