A Curious Understudy for My Heart’s Desire

“I want mac and cheese!”

I swear the sound of muffled laughter follows my announcement. My neck snaps to look downward to Fat, sitting calmly at my feet by the entryway. I grab my keys off the hall table and shove them in my pocket. The intense eye contact persists throughout the small action.

“What?” Fat’s eyes narrow, trying to dissect the look I give her.

“I’m serious. I want mac and cheese!”

“Boss, calm down. There’s no need to yell.” Fat licks a paw and rubs it against her face.

My eyes widen. Yell? I thought I merely made a statement declaring my strong desire for carbohydrates. I had no idea such a tremendous want came with amplified volume. My voice adjusts to an indoor level. Ever since I started thinking of Bestie’s mac and cheese last week, the memory of its creamy deliciousness haunts me. It’s complete addict behaviour.

“You know what this is, don’t you?” Fat finishes washing her face and gives me a knowing gaze. “It’s addict behaviour.”

“I just said that.”

Fat shakes her head, “No, you didn’t.”

My brain abandons its lust of pasta to pursue recent memory. Maybe I just thought the thing about addict behaviour. Either way, it’s concerning.

“I think I’m going crazy.”

“Stating the obvious, lady. That’s why you made me your therapist.”

I mutter, “You’re a self-appointed therapist. If you were court-appointed I might pay more attention.”

“With your stupid behaviour I imagine that is only a matter of time. You need to distract yourself from this fleeting obsession with cheesy, fatty pasta. Get out of the house.”

My phone lights up to show me the time. “I’m trying. I actually need to get to the bank before it closes.” It’s going to be a close one. I might even have to run.

I open the front door as I wrestle to get my sandals on. While bent over, my untamed hair cascades, putting a divide between Fat and I.

“Well that’s interesting.” The sentence sounds broken the way Fat says it. The odd breaks between her words makes me curious. I part my wild hair like an explorer in an overgrown jungle so I can observe the feline. She looks beyond me and at the doorway, head cocked to the side as though perplexed. I turn and see it too.

A lone box of Kraft Dinner occupies the space within the door frame. Fat and I exchange confused looks and both race to look up and down the hallway for a hint as to who left it for us to find.

Fat eyes Jesse’s door with accusation. I follow her stare and recall the laughter after my initial loud announcement.

“You think?” I watch Jesse’s door for a sign of life. Nothing happens.

“If I may quote myself,” Fat looks from the neighbour’s door to the box of KD, “that’s interesting.” IMG_2672[1]

The Runaway Train

“You’re running away from home now? That’s rather overdramatic.” The feline eyes my black vinyl tote with white stitching. “Classy bag, boss.”

Fat’s judgemental tone just bounces off me. I don’t look up from dropping a few items in my overnight bag.

“What did you expect?” There’s a moment of hesitation. I know that I know the word I’m looking for, but vocabulary completely fails me, “a hobo handkerchief on a stick?” I shake my head at my own stupidity; it would have been better to just keep my trap shut.

So far, I haven’t packed much. I told myself I would have been ready to go almost an hour ago. Then I could just simply chill out and wait to be picked up without the last-minute stress-dash that is usually the result when preparing for a weekend away.

I mentally go through a list of unforgettables in my head. I can live in the same clothes for the entirety of the long weekend, but I will not live without my stash of Mini Eggs over Easter. That’s a non-negotiable.

Fat crawls less-than-gracefully across the unmade bed. “Bindle.” When she sees the surprised look on my face she sighs with frustration, “A hobo’s satchel. It’s called a bindle.”

Damn it. Bindle. How did I not remember that?

“How in hell do you know that?” I always find it unsettling when my portly furball knows things that I can’t readily come up with.

She ignores my question and peers inside my bag. “You pack some weird shit for a weekend with your kinfolk. I really need to meet your parents.”

I shoot her a look that says nothing other than ‘what else does one bring on a weekend getaway to her hometown?’ It dawns on me immediately after I scrunch my face at Fat in an attempt to make her feel stupid that all that’s tucked inside that tote is a bulk bag of Israeli couscous, some Cuban cigars and a small fortune worth of Mini Eggs.

“Only the chocolate is mine. I’m serving as a pack mule with those other things.”

“That only raises more questions, boss. But I don’t care enough to travel down that road.” What one might consider a worried look crosses the feline’s face. “You’ll miss me, won’t you?”

“It’s only three days, Fat. I’m sure you’ll manage just fine. Mind the sitter.”

She rolls her eyes, “I always do.”

We catch eye contact and both burst out laughing. Good behaviour is usually out of stock when it comes to this kitty.

Fat composes herself and becomes serious again. “You’ll write, won’t you?”

I grab my well-loved journal off the night stand. Holding it in both hands I hold it by my face with what should translate as a cherub-like smile. “I’m going to try to scribble down a few ideas when I can.”

Her grey ears fold backward. “I meant write to me.”

I toss the journal in the bag beside the couscous. “Do you have any idea what stamps cost these days?” I turn my back on Fat to address my dresser and what I should pack as far as clothes go.

“I know you’re being facetious but I don’t care. I don’t like when you go away. The intelligence level of the apartment skyrockets in your absence, but in turn,” I hear her movement behind me, “I realize how much  your Neanderthal antics keep me amused.”

I turn around with a handful of shirts, underwear and pyjama pants, almost dropping them when I see Fat sitting happily inside the vinyl bag.

“You’re not coming this weekend, Fat.”

The feline glares, then softens almost immediately. “You’re right, boss. You need this time away from everything. Enjoy the time-out. I’ll take care of things around here.”

I wait for her to move, but she remains planted in the overnight bag. I grab her around the gelatinous stomach and heave Fat out of the way.

“Thanks, Fat. I appreciate the support.”