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]

No Time to Waste

“Good news: you’re not dead.”

My blurry eyes blink as the room comes into focus. I can see the white-spackled ceiling as a backdrop to the lump on my chest that wasn’t there when I lost consciousness.

“Oh Christ. I thought I was dreaming and you were a furry uniboob implant. Turns out you’re the pain in the ass that’s just relocated to my chest.”  I lift an arm to pat her head, my formerly sweaty skin peels audibly from the yoga mat. “How long was I out?”

“My best guess is about twenty minutes. You take relaxation pose very seriously.” Fat’s head tips backward, trying to get me to scratch some precise place midway between her jaw and her ear. When she gets too insistent, I quit petting her altogether. Fat gives me a look of expectant disappointment.

I lift the feline as I roll up to sitting. “I assure you, any serious behaviour on my part is purely accidental.” Fat gets placed on the lavender mat so I can grind the sleep from my eyes.

Tiny green eyes watch me closely. She sees me read the time on the pvr and my resulting eye movements as I plan out the remaining hours before bed. I shoot a look at the to-list on the bamboo whiteboard in the kitchen and in doing so, notice the sink full of dishes. Balls. I crawl to the edge of the yoga mat and start rolling it up.

“You ever see that Sex and the City rerun where Samantha yells out a window that she has it all?”

I feel my eyebrow lift in surprise. Strange reference. My head slowly nods, even though her question is rhetorical.

“Don’t give me that look. I’m a big Chris Noth fan; he’s an underrated heart throb.” Fat jumps off the purple mat as I pull it out from under her.

I start zipping the yoga mat into its matching bag. “Thanks for the unnecessary side note, Fat. What about having it all?” I look at the clock again, as though I expect the numbers to have changed, but we’re still in the same minute since I first glanced at the time. Conversations with Fat must create some kind of time warp.

“I don’t think it’s possible to have it all.” Her sagging belly jiggles as she trots after me down the hall where I put my yoga mat in the closet.

I flick on the light switch and stare down at the cat, arms crossed – but not in an aggressive way. I’m genuinely mulling over her last sentence.

Fat peers at me like I’m missing something. Her speech comes out slowly, like it will help me come to come grand realization… unless she’s speaking normally, and I truly have fallen victim to a time warp.

“You work forty hours a week…”

“Many people do.”

“You go to the gym five days a week…”

I nod. That’s only because bathing suit season is coming; my muffin top is not welcome at the beach.

“Yoga twice a week…”

“A night or two a week for gluttony and/or debauchery…”

Well, who doesn’t?

“You blog three times a week… how’s that going by the way?”

“The subject matter is a bit of a pain in my ass.” Even without bursting into full-smile mode, I feel my dimples showing. “I only write that for fun though.” I lean against the wall, arms still crossed as she continues.

“As much as I hate giving compliments, you take good care of Mutt and me.”

“Thanks for returning the favour.” I use the elastic around my wrist to tie my hair into a sloppy bun on top of my head.

She beams, “you’re welcome.”

“Sarcasm, Fat.”

She ignores me to continue. “You work on that book of yours whenever you get a free minute…”

I feel the corners of my mouth point downwards as I pout. I wish I made it more of a priority.

“I’m sorry, what is the point of you listing off my weekly habits? I’m aware that I don’t have it all, but I’m trying.” If I can wrap this up quickly, I’ll be able to shower, do the dishes, call my pops and maybe read a little before bed.

An exasperated sigh falls out of Fat’s mouth. “You’re doing it again. I see your eyes darting back and forth. You don’t have to do it all, boss. I know that you’re trying to accomplish everything you want, but in doing so, you’re wearing yourself a little thin.”

“Thanks. Like you say, I’ve been working out.” I grab a fresh towel from the closet and take a couple steps closer to the shower that’s been calling my name since before the accidental nap.

“What’s the alternative to not doing everything I want to do?”

“A catastrophic implosion.” She watches my face again as she lets the idea sink in. “Don’t worry. My shrink cred and I will be here waiting for your stress-addled, horribly-damaged psyche when it hits overload. Take your time.”