Every day I work and every day permakitten Grace works as well. For me this entails writing, editing, watching screeners. For Grace this entails standing guard by the window where all the pigeons in the neighborhood like to flock.
All day they stand on the air conditioner projecting from that window, and all day, with narrowed eyes and switching tail, she watches them. Some of the birds are real assholes: They coo while strutting in a circle and flapping their wings. This seems rude even to me, and it makes Gracie apoplectic. Sometimes she gets so mad that she presses her nose against the glass, growls, and flattens her ears. On those occasions the pigeons duck their heads though they rarely leave. Still, the slightest suggestion that they’re cowed satisfies Grace, and she trots back to me, ready for some head-scratching, maybe a treat. I’m no different. A chapter or essay completed and I’m ready for a new lipstick, maybe a tumbler of rye. That’s how we roll in our house: work and reward, work and reward, work and reward. I always say, the Rosman girls earn their keep.
My permakitten Gracie pads through all my dreams lately. At this point we’re so close–we’ve been with each other through illness and poverty and loneliness and heartbreak—that my central nervous system automatically calms whenever I feel the pressure of her tiny warm body. I’ve taken her with me on trips upstate and to the sea. It only makes sense that she accompany me to the other side as well.
The night before last, I dreamed that she was a tiny purple sea horse—an animated one who leapt off a smart phone screen to swim next to me everywhere I went. Everyone could see her but no one knew what to do with the vision. Then the phone got scrambled—it was just a wave of pastels rolling on the screen—and I couldn’t find her anywhere. To make matters worse, I was on a train, which disappeared once I stepped off briefly to find better cell reception. I couldn’t retrieve my bags, couldn’t even find the train. Naturally I discovered I was on my ex’s property, and so had to take pains to avoid him as I searched for my life’s possessions as well as dear Grace. I realized I had nothing of my own.
It was a desecration of what had been a lovely dream.
Last night I dreamed Grace and I were at a house party—a mansion party, really, but as the awkward evening unspooled, it became clear it was really a funeral. These very wealthy people didn’t know how to navigate death (something they couldn’t control) so they’d acted like the occasion for convening was an ordinary party rather than the death of a friend.
I was cynical but nonetheless present. Grace was exploring the many halls, skidding down endless, shiny wood floors. I encountered a staircase that (naturally) didn’t extend all the way from the mezzanine to the first floor. I cracked some jokes about it—a bunch of us (including another ex) were descending the stairs together in order to attend what had suddenly been announced as a memorial service—and everyone laughed. I felt gratified and mean (not an unfamiliar feeling for me). Continue Reading →