Before the Cat

BY Amanda Faraone
 

It starts with the cat. One of those days. No matter how hard we try the cat gets under, around, through, hands outstretched in useless prayer. One of those days when I can see it, you are thinking: about Rhodes, the boat, and how that little calico ended up here, knocking wine bottles off the top of our refrigerator. 

It starts with a furry balled-up moment of empathy, and it grows to be a many-legged, wild-willed terror. Remember his paws all covered in flour, the trail to our king-sized bed, the pillow-sized lump beneath the covers, breathing?

One of those days when it is almost enough, the dripping coffee, clean towels, a shoulder kiss—and then the cat runs in. You used to say, or maybe just the once, how you couldn't see anything else, how there was only this.

It starts with the cat, but didn't it begin before that, before Rhodes? All I can remember is that night, or maybe it was more than one, when I slept, my head on your chest, and woke to find you up, hand on my hair. Those times when we couldn't wait; when the urgency overtook us; before the fear overran us, puncturing our ballooning hopes, scratching blindly, leaving us to wonder whose house this was, what kind of people lived here, and how they could go on like this, broken wine bottles bleeding all across the floor.

After the Dog


Where before there were times of uncertainty, quietness, resentment, once we get the dog, we find, there is now only the dog. Bounding, barking, wagging up all space. 

Now we find: every moment, interaction, misstep is, through the dog, transfigured. That there is humor, serendipity, however scatological. 

What'’s more: there is no end to material. What we are talking about when we talk about the dog doesn't matter, really; but we know, hidden in his four-pawed physicality, his splayed out displays of desire, his predilection for pregnant women, is a narrative, never-ending. An anchoring down.

You, turn to me, breath frosting, fishing for sticks in the sunlight—and I know you are only talking about the dog, but it gets me nonetheless: 

The dog, you say, he misses even strangers.

 

Amanda reads "Before the Cat" & "After the Dog"


Amanda Faraone is a writer based in Brooklyn. Her fiction has appeared in Curbside Splendor, red lightbulbs, and the 2NDHAND txt, among others. Her debut play, “The Last Sleepover,” was performed at the 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival.