Thursday, March 5, 2009
Ruminations on Charlie
I've been thinking about the strong urge I felt these days to adopt a new cat. It would be me easy to say that I've lived with multiple cats for twenty years and now that they're both dead, it's only natural to want to fill the 'cat gap.' But that's not the whole story. Truth is, lately, I've felt lonely.Don't get me wrong, I'm busy with Ethan and the daily ordinariness of things, the jobs searches and rewrites and attempts to come up with yet another draft of this stage of my life, my 'busy list" is endless. I'm bed-lonely: the simple pleasure of sharing a bed, waking up with someone. It's the marital bed, I miss: knowing that I'll wake up with the same person. Since our 'NO PORN IN FRONT OF ETHAN' confrontation the tension between M and me has eased. Last night he went into the city by himself (something he NEVER would have previously done.) He's taken E to a kid's concert today (also a new activity) and lately I see him eye the 'for rent' signs that are cropping up all over Montclair. He's coming to realize that life separate from me may not be calamitous, that he can create a strong bond with Ethan and still have a life that includes the time for all of the interests that we never shared. All of the cats are named or renamed was they arrive at the shelter.I saw Charlie within the first five minutes of walking in.Apparently, he's their newest addition, a grey polydactal tabby who was dumped into and then rescued from a pack of feral cats. Most of the shelter's occupants(all cats) were out of their crates, playing like wild things, bunting me and wandering away. Charlie, being the new guy was looking on from his crate, alert but not anxious. The staff figuring that I would relate, presented to me their hardest cases, the cat with the feline equivalent of Bell's palsy, the black female who cooed constantly like a pigeon the fat white house cat with no tail. I walked around the small room a couple of times and kept stopping in front of Charlie. Other people walked in, talking baby babble to the kittens, cuddling them. Charlie and I simply regarded each other. He is, my instincts tell me, a mellow fellow. The adoption process is weirdly complex. I filled out the paperwork, and apparently wrote an answer that red flagged me as a liability. I was grilled about my cat history, fur from all sides of the room, falling on me like snow. One woman questioned me to the extent that I finally said to her, 'Listen, do you want to give me a new application to fill out? I'd be happy to change that answer." "Oh no, she said, "I'll pass on to our board of directors." They'll get back you." If I'm deemed fit to be a custodial parent to one homeless cat, I must then bring Mand Ethan to the shelter so that they can be approved.Dear God, you'd think they be grateful I expressed an interest in their four-legged tenants. If they refuse me, I may be forced to flash my recently sharpened claws and point out to this staff that this shelter is woefully inaccessible--I had to be carried in order to exit the building--- and that they are in fact, breaking the law. Do you hear me hissing? In a few days, I'll drag M to the shelter and Charlie or maybe some other cat will come home with us. Soon, I'll have another, faster heartbeat pumping at my feet. That's what I'm looking for: a warm presence to take up just a little bit of space on the cold side of the bed.