Two days after I had moved from a house in the country to a flat in the city, I concluded that it was time to move my cat. The poor little dear had remained in the backyard, not unattended but meowing plaintively as she sensed the universal nervousness surrounding my move. The idea was to return for her specifically once the boxes had been unpacked, because the prospect of me and the cat buried among boxes to start with and stressing out in unison didn’t strike me as particularly enticing.
On impulse – the impulse being me missing my cat and having the boxes all miraculously cleared out already – I got on the train back to the middle of nowhere to pick up my pet from our old place of residence. I was hoping I would be able to kidnap aka catnap her smoothly, planning only to say hello to the grandparents living on the ground floor. The top floor, occupied by my ex-husband and ex-occupied by me, should have been empty, as I expected the man to be out. He indeed had been out, which was confirmed when his car pulled up to the side of the road as I was walking from the train station to the house. I got in, wondering what my mother would say if she saw I disregarded her advice not to get in a car with a stranger.
My former spouse assumed by default that I had come to tidy up the minor havoc that was wreaked on his home as a result of me having moved half the household out. First I inquired where the bloody batteries were that used to be in the drawer and that I needed for my new clock. I received an indifferent shrug in response. That sparked in me the angry courage to announce, Well, okay, so cheers, I’ll just grab the cat and I’m off for the train. The man wasn’t pleased by my proposal to get my reward without getting any work done. He still let me catch my cat though, if not the train.
Before going, I stopped at the grandparents’. I fully expected the grandmother to offer me the usual slivovitz shot after I had spent five years of my life cohabiting with them. I wasn’t offered anything. Fair enough, let me freeze to death, you person, you, by refusing to provide me with internal heating in this frost. Shaking with disappointment and cold, I nearly got the wrong cat, the grandparents’ old blackie instead of my tabby kitty. They are obviously so easy to confuse.
My tabby enjoyed her transport box as little as I enjoyed dragging the sheer weight of her and the luggage all the way to the railway station. Just as I managed to the railroad crossing, the familiar formerly family car slowed down at the side of the road. I’m being stalked by my ex, how romantic, I thought as I crossed the road to meet him, reasoning that I might wish to avoid a public scene. On the other hand, we were just in front of the village pub, whose regulars would surely welcome an impromptu theatrical performance. They might even lose some coins as courtesy to the amateur actors.
The ex addressed me condescendingly: Don’t be stupid.
I said irritably: You mean “stop being stupid”.
He glared and glowered: Stop correcting me!
I retorted angrily: See, that’s why I’m divorcing you. You’re so bloody mean.
He stared in disbelief: Don’t be so bloody oversensitive.
I gave up, got in the car, thinking: You mean “stop being so bloody oversensitive”.
Etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.
Apparently, my divorced husband was willing to give me a lift home and was ready to do so even though I left his house in a post-apocalyptic condition. Possibly, the man is not as mean as I believe; but I’m so bloody oversensitive that I wouldn’t know. Focusing my attention on the cat, I stopped conversing pointlessly with the man and started to converse pointlessly with the cat. She had meanwhile turned into a Schrödinger’s Cat: I couldn’t tell if she was alive or dead because she grew quiet and it grew dark, so I could neither hear nor see anything.
After an hour of me worrying for both of our lives (mine and the cat’s, not so much the driver’s, except for considering that he might not drive safe if he were dead), we arrived at my home. Schrödinger’s Cat was carried upstairs and deschröndingerised by being moved from the dark to the light. The divorced man proceeded to take leave from the cat with such unprecedented affection that I needed to remind him that he doesn’t like pets in general and the cat in particular. Hurt, he insisted I was wrong. Offended, I insisted he was a bit late. Precisely one divorce court session late.
When the master left, it was time for the mistress to open the cage, or let the cat out of the bag. She seemed well settled in her box, as she probably already incurred the Stockholm Syndrome. Suddenly she leaped out, sniffing and surveying with her beady eyes, and then very slowly, waddling like a duck on the unaccustomed hardboard floor, she headed under the table to check out my modem. Satisfied with finding that there is a Wi-Fi connection, she retired in the closet and, indifferent to her changed surroundings, dozed off. What a cat.