It’s the last day of summer, unofficially at least, and only now have I tackled enough of the shadows looming over me to relax. That’s life, I suppose, and as much as I don’t mind work—as much as I love work, even—I’m aware a change of pace would do me well. My patience is worn to the bone; I can scarcely suffer anyone, let alone fools; and I’ve become a Grim Jim, a Prince Charmless, a true Pill-ar of the community. Still, it’s nothing a break wouldn’t cure, and when I pay off all my debts and refill my bank account, I plan to take one—a good one, a long one, a very, very quiet and briny one.
In the meantime I travel within my finely feathered city, orchestrating the sort of adventures that have been the mainstay of my existence here since I was but a lass. Yesterday I wandered through the flea market on 76th and Columbus, a neighborhood that typically gives me nose bleeds. There, among the throng of normcore nudniks and old ladies in purple hats, I excavated an art deco pocket watch, a spangled parrot brooch, and a tiny painting of sea and sky whose beauty was obfuscated by a homely brown frame. This morning I painted it white and cream while watching an old screwball comedy. (And after you shot your husband, how did you feel? I felt hungry!) Grace supervised, her tail twitching in my face. The neighborhood pigeon with a neon stripe yapped outside the window. And the wind blew in, setting aflutter the curtains I hung myself.
Small pleasures, all of them, but no less real for their scale and certainly no less mine. And thus this season comes to a bittersweet end. Here’s to a brilliant Fall for us all.
Used to be, when I came home, my permakitten Grace would come sauntering to the door. It wasn’t like she catapulted into my arms as my dearly departed calico Maxiemillion Rosmoon always did. She’d greet me more like–Oh! You’re home? I just happened to be walking down the hall and here you are. Still, as I put down my things, she’d bump me—casually, super-casually—until I lay down on the floor and scratched behind her ears. It was a perfect ritual for shedding the mishegos of the outside world, and I appreciated it all the more for the effort it required of my normally reserved cat.
Nowadays, I don’t hear word one from Little Miss when I come home. Frankly, I blame it on the Magic Chair. Ever since I dragged it home from the Hamptons earlier this summer, Gracie has spent all her time lolling in its wooden splendor. She doesn’t sleep with me anymore, she doesn’t perch on my legs as I write, she doesn’t even trot around the apartment, prowling for evil, evil dust mice. She just snuggles in that blasted rocking chair, communing with the Good Grandpa Ghost who came with it. I get the sense that he caresses her all day long, rubbing her striped belly and purring softly like the mommy from which she was mysteriously separated when she was but a month old. (We found her as a still-bleating baby, mawing Doritos and malt liquor from trash cans like all the other toughies on the block.) The other day, when I was very stuck on a review, I displaced her briefly so I could soak up The Chair’s good writing energy–this grandfather liked authors, methinks–and she glowered until I ceded what she apparently now regards as her rightful throne. Twas no joke, I assure you.
I’m torn: I miss my tiny friend’s companionship but am glad she has found a way to quell the anxiety that has plagued her since she was small. To that end, I leave a small glass of water every night on my ancestors’ altar for this grandpa of another man–I know his spirit boasts an uncomplicated kindness that only can be good for us both—and I have placed a striped cushion on the chair to make my sweet friend even cozier. Even witch’s familiars need familiars, and it is my duty to respect that.